The Times has announced that it will publish two lists, one for e-book fiction and one for e-book nonfiction, "in an acknowledgment of the growing sales and influence of digital publishing."
The e-book lists will be put together from weekly data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers and online retailers. According to The Times' press release, "To further secure the integrity of the rankings, The Times is aggressively developing a means of processing and displaying the information necessary, and of verifying the data provided."
Forecasts for e-books have grown increasingly sunny, as of late. The Association of American Publishers recently reported an increase in e-book sales of more than 190%, while Amazon announced that e-book sales had not only surpassed hardcovers on Amazon.com, but that Kindle books were outselling print best-sellers by a two-to-one margin. Last week, analyst firm Forrester did some polling and predicted e-book sales to surpass $1 billion by the year's end.
The fact that The Times has added an e-book best-seller list just adds some more fuel to the fire. According to its announcement, several major publishers have said that e-books now accounted for 10% of total trade sales, with predictions of growing to a quarter of total sales in the next few years.
Sam Tanenhaus, editor of The New York Times Book Review, is quoted as saying an e-books lists is needed to give a full picture.
"To give the fullest and most accurate possible snapshot of what books are being read at a given moment you have to include as many different formats as possible, and e-books have really grown, there's no question about it," said Tanenhaus.
Disclosure: The New York Times and ReadWriteWeb are syndication partners.