NYT upgrades children’s bestseller lists for a digital era

Noting that “children, teenagers and, yes, adults are increasingly reading children’s books on tablets, phones and e-readers,” the New York Times (s NYT) is changing its children’s bestseller lists, which it first launched in 2004, to make them more relevant in a digital era.

Until now, the children’s bestseller lists have been divided into four categories: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Paperback Books and Series. Starting with the December 16 list (available online this Friday), however, the Chapter Books list will be divided into two lists for different age groups. More significantly, the children’s lists will include sales across all platforms, including ebooks (with the exception of the Picture Books list, which remains print-only). The paper outlined the changes in an announcement sent to publishers this week:

Starting in this issue, the children’s chapter book list has expanded into two categories: middle grade and young adult, both of which, along with the series list, now represent sales across all platforms — hardcover, paperback and e-books. Middle-grade books include those for children between the ages of 8 and 12, a category that encompasses many of the cherished books of childhood: “Charlotte’s Web,”? “A Wrinkle in Time,” ?“Where the Red Fern Grows.” The young adult category includes all books published for readers 12 to 18, though as recent research shows, it’s very often adults between the ages of 25 and 34 snapping them up. Because these books have become so popular, we have also created extended lists of 15 titles each, which readers can access online.

The number-one title on the Young Adult list for the week of December 16 is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. First published by Simon & Schuster in 1999, it’s risen to popularity again with the launch of the movie this year. The number-one title on the Middle Grade list is the  Lego Ninjago Character Encyclopedia by Claire Sipi, published by DK.

In its announcement, the NYT concludes:

We believe these changes represent the best traditions in the way children read as well as the future of young people’s literature. Something for all ages, for the ages. That is — as all Y.A. dystopia readers know — until the next wave of technology comes along.

h/t Sarah Weinman