Two decades ago, USA Today challenged the NYT as the publisher of THE recognized consumer best seller list (Publishers Weekly actually invented the idea in the early 1900’s; the NYT was a relative newcomer, beginning their list in 1942, but it held sway in the consumer’s mind as the arbiters of best sellers) by instituting a list with a difference. Rather than dividing it by age range and format, USA Today ran one inclusive list, offering a clearer snapshot of what Americans are reading.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary, USA Today‘s Bob Minzeheimer takes a look at how tastes have evolved, from the demise of self-help, to the effects of changing formats and types of retailers.
Several observations ring true with what one would expect; children’s and YA books have grown in sales, more people are now buying through online retailers and reading e-books. On the other hand, is is surprising to note that the “Oprah Effect” was not long-lasting as might be expected; none of her picks was the top seller for its year and none appear in the top 25 books of each of the three eras of the USA Today lists.
We were pleased to be asked to comment for the story. Now we’d love to know your observations; tell us what you think has been the biggest changes in reading habits over the last twenty years.