#EtherIssue at Publishing Perspectives: Lists of Books…and Biases?

Image: iStockphoto - NewMediaProjects
Image: iStockphoto – NewMediaProjects

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Issues on the Ether: Lists of Books…and Biases?

[su_dropcap size=”4″]W[/su_dropcap]elcome to the first edition of a new Ether-eal approach here at Publishing Perspectives. We hope to engage you in it and with it. And here’s how.

  1. Each Tuesday, “Issues on the Ether” will look at one issue or a set of related issues — considering how publishing is going these days, we may just juggle a small basket of issues at times.
  2. Each Wednesday, we want to hear from you. Publishing Perspectives Editor in Chief Edward Nawotka and I will host a live Twitter chat on that week’s Ether topic(s) at 4 p.m. GMT / 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT. We’ll use the hashtag #EtherIssue and the @PubPerspectives handle on our tweets.

To start us off this week on our Ether Issue — could Top 100 and Book of the Year lists be revealing important biases in publishing? — we start with Caitlin White at Bustle.com:

Guess Which Amazon Top 100 List Self-Published Women Dominate?

The current (and yes, we still have the majority of December left) Kindle Top 100 for 2013 has 15 books by female, self-published or independent authors, and several more on the fringes — again, not counting the E.L. James novels on the list.

With input from The Bookseller, the VIDA Count, the Guardian, and more, we set up the issue for our discussion, and we hope you’ll join us to consider:

  • Do we need a better understanding of how many books are authored by men and how many by women? Or does it not matter?
  • Are all these lists—Best Gardening in Dim Light Books for 2013!—really worth anything unless the various media waving them at us tell us how they created them?
  • Are the list-mongering media making their best attempts to really cover the waterfront and find the actual best no matter who wrote it? Or are they simply replicating year-long coverage made by inadequately balanced reviewing teams?
  • And overall, what will it take for publishing—and you might think the industry! the industry! had enough problems already—to get to grips with this issue and make some changes?

These questions, and yours: let’s have them all on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern, 8 a.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. GMT on hashtag #EtherIssue — see you then.
Read the full post: PublishingPerspectives.com

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