Did the NYT plot to keep conservative books off its bestseller list?

March 17, 2011|By Luke Broadwater

This week three conservative books broke into the New York Times' bestseller list: Mike Huckabee's "A simple government: Twelve Things We Really Need From Government," Dick Morris' "Revolt!: How to Defeat Obama and His Socialist Programs" and Frank Luntz's "Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary." 

But one of those authors, Morris, is taking issue with how the New York Times credited his sales. Instead of listing these books with other non-fiction books -- a list they surely would have made -- the Times categorized them has "How-to" books. 

"On Sunday -- for the first time since the New York Times Bestsellers List first appeared in 1942 -- best selling political books will not appear in the Hardcover Non-Fiction List. Instead, those books will be relegated to the 'Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous List,' along with 'The 4 Hour Body' and 'Weight Watchers New Cookbook,'" Morris wrote on his blog (poor punctuation improved by yours truly). "... Apparently, too many Fox News Contributors are crowding up the hardcover best seller list, so they’ve been thrown downstairs." 

I'm not sure what to think about this, but as an avid reader (and follower of the New York Times' bestseller list) I'm intrigued. I'm also inclined to think Morris has a point. These conservative books are far from "how-tos," and if the NYT thinks too many political books are clogging up the non-fiction list, it should create a separate category for political books, not push them into a category in which they don't belong. 

I'll be interested to see how the Times responds to Morris' claims. 

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