Off the shelf

I read books. I write books. I read bestseller lists. My books have appeared on bestseller lists.

Every week I read the list of Bestselling Business Books in Tuesday’s Report on Business and shake my head. Most such lists include books you might have heard about, books that you’ve read, and books that have been on the list for weeks. It’s always interesting to see who has just arrived, who’s clinging by a thread, or who’s been there forever. The New York Times has recently added e-books to its roster of bestseller lists.

This Tuesday list, supplied by Books for Business – a store I know well and admire – is unique. Most weeks, all ten books on the list are different from the previous week. I’m well aware that books have a shelf life somewhere between milk and yoghurt but this is ridiculous. Over the past few months I can think of only one book that has made several off-and-on appearances, “A Tale of Two Employees & The Person Who Wanted to Lead Them.” There have been absolutely no sightings at all of such blockbuster business bestsellers as “The Big Short,” by Michael Lewis, William D. Cohan on Goldman Sachs, or “Onward,” about Starbucks by Howard Schultz.

A report from one bookstore doesn’t really offer enough scope for a bestseller list in a national newspaper. Tomorrow, the winner will be announced in the National Business Book Award. Among the award sponsors is The Globe and Mail and the luncheon event offers a good moment in time to think about revamping the paper’s weekly listing into something more comprehensive. This current listing method has surely run its course.

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