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Author: Subject: When is a best-selling book not a best-seller?
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[*] Post 496566 posted on 10-7-2015 at 00:30 Reply With Quote
When is a best-selling book not a best-seller?



Here a book is omitted from the New York Times best-seller list, in spite of reportedly selling more than 18 of the 20 titles on the list.
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It is currently #4 on the Wall Street Journal hardcover list, #4 on the Publisher's Weekly hardcover list, #4 on the Bookscan hardcover list, and #1 on the Conservative Book Club list.
The book is a biography by Ted Cruz A Time For Truth

A spokesperson for the NY Times said that the list does not just reflect the number of books sold, but must also meet standards for "authentic best sellers."

This could be a little fishy. However, if the secret standards really were in place long before this particular book was marketed, I can give them the benefit of a doubt. (You wouldn't want a wealthy author to be able to buy 100,000 copies of his own book, for the sake of getting listed on the best-seller list--not that I'm saying this happened in Cruz's case.)

I'm wondering if many of the books were sold in advance of publication. If so, you could hardly say that the quality of the book had made it a best-seller (advance-ordered before anyone knew whether it was well-written or not).

If so, the N.Y. Times will be able to show its fairness when (or if) the book sells enough to climb the list in after-publication sales.
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[*] Post 496571 posted on 10-7-2015 at 03:21 Reply With Quote


There is an addendum to the linked article that says that there was a preponderance of bulk purchases.
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[*] Post 496586 posted on 10-7-2015 at 21:26 Reply With Quote


If the bulk-purchased copies are sold to individuals who want to read the book, then they ought not disqualify. (For example, does the Conservative Book Club buy in bulk so as to make the book available to people on a club list? If they made several bulk purchases, that sounds as if they kept running out.) But, the NYT would not know the nature of the situation without making inquiry beyond whether a lot of titles were sent to the same building.

On the other hand--years ago, some politicians used to raise money by means of essentially worthless books which skirted campaign finance laws. They would "sell" hundreds or thousands of copies of their books high above their real value to their financial supporters, and the money would go to them personally as proceeds from the book. Thus, they did not have to treat the cash as donations under campaign finance law restrictions.

I'm not saying that is happening here. But, I am saying it is reasonable for the NYT to have some rules in place to judge whether a book is fairly on the bestseller list or not.
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