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 Naruto and Some Surprises Make NY Times Manga Bestseller List

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PostSubject: Naruto and Some Surprises Make NY Times Manga Bestseller List   Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:02 pm

News link:

Copy of the news in here:

Naruto and Some Surprises Make NY Times Manga Bestseller List
Saturday March 14, 2009

The New York Times recently started posting three weekly top 10 bestseller lists focusing on "graphic books" - one for hardcover graphic novels, one for paperback editions and a separate list just for manga! While bestseller lists for graphic novels isn't new (ICV2 and Publishers' Weekly have been posting monthly graphic novel bestseller lists for a while now) -- but what is new is a dedicated, weekly list just for manga versus a combined list with other graphic novels. And the first two weeks of this list offered up some eye-opening results.

Sure, it's no surprise that Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto (from Shonen Jump Manga / VIZ Media) has a stranglehold on the top 10 for two weeks in a row, taking up 7 or 8 of the 10 slots, including the top spot. With the "Generation Ninja" promotions and accelerated release schedule now in full-swing, the most recent releases (Volumes 34 to 41) of Naruto are being snapped up as fast as they appear on bookstore shelves.

But what really got people (well, maybe just me) talking was the books that took up the remaining slots on these lists. On the debut list that appeared on March 5, 2009, the ultra-violent (and very M for Mature-rated) MPD-Psycho Volume 8 by Eiji Otsuka and Sho-u Tajima from Dark Horse claimed the #5 slot, with the only other "non-Naruto" title being Eden: It's an Endless World! Volume 11 by Hiroki Endo, another Dark Horse title.

What makes this so surprising? MPD-Psycho is an extremely violent book that is geared for older manga readers, so strong sales for this title bucks the "manga is just for teens" stereotype. At one point, Eden was mentioned as a slow seller that was in danger of being cancelled, so its appearance on the top 10 list raised a few eyebrows, albeit not in an entirely bad way.

The March 13 list showed that Naruto's dominance was no fluke, but instead of the two Dark Horse titles, this week's top 10 was all VIZ. Naruto Volume 40 took the top slot, with the next highest-charting non-Naruto title being Bleach Volume 26 by Tite Kubo claiming the #5 slot, followed by Gentlemen's Alliance Cross Volume 8 by Arina Tanemura coming in at #8 and Black Cat Volume 19, by Kentaro Yabuki right behind, in the #9 position.

The other reason why the New York Times 'graphic books' lists got the chattering class going to town was its methodology for gathering these results. While the ICV2 list relies on Nielsen BookScan, which is heavily weighted toward bookstore sales, the New York Times list takes a different approach by measuring sales at "at many thousands of venues where a wide range of books are sold nationwide," including independent and chain bookstores, online retailers and "retailers nationwide that specialize in graphic novels and comic books." So if that's true, the New York Times list is casting a wider net for its sales figures, which might explain its sometimes suprising results.

While the New York Times editors seem dismissive of Naruto with their 'cut-n-paste' descriptions of this popular manga series, it's also really great to see manga get this kind of exposure in the mainstream press. The week-by-week fluctuations in sales bubble up some unexpected titles to the top of the stack, which makes for some fascinating results. I'll definitely be looking out to see what surprises will be in store on next week's list!

(Note: is a division of The New York Times)

Image credit: ©️ 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

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