How many of the books you read are designated NYT bestsellers? What does it take to reach that lofty title?
Can you name the last book and author you read with that title splashed across the top of their book? I’m sure you can! I see “bestselling author” quite often as well as “bestseller.” And many of my favorite authors can boast that label. But a New York Times Bestseller identification is not easily won, kept, or replaced by a second from the same author. There is a complicated science to the whole thing (but you knew there would be!), as noted in the article posted by Allie Nicodemo on April 6, 2018. (Thank you, Allie)
It makes sense that all the hype of a book should start generating interest months prior to release date because all the excitement generated should hopefully last more than ten weeks, after which she quotes researchers found a precipitous drop in interest.
The vast majority are sold within the first few weeks according to her source, Northeastern network scientist Albert-László Barabási (Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and Distinguished Professor of Physics and director the Center for Complex Network Research.) But it doesn’t end there. From the early sales record, they can develop a model that will predict how many copies a book will sell. Which can either be extremely exciting or highly depressing, huh!
And they maintain,
“If you don’t have that momentum properly orchestrated for the book, you may sell lots of copies, but you will not make the list.”
The numbers obviously change with the season (or the month), wherein a book released in February with as few as 3,000 sales may make the list while a December release (with shopping and gifts in consideration) may take as many as 10,000 copies to make the same list. Here’s where you can look at December releases and realize just how brave those authors are! Generates a whole new respect, right?! Chosen well (a publishing downtime—and that can include the DAY as well as the month), in order to hit the NYT bestseller list at least 5,000 copies during a one-week period is minimum. WHOA! (I’ve written before that I noticed a majority of the books I request on NetGalley are consistently released on a Tuesday.)
Not surprising that many fiction authors are consistently bestsellers, while non-fiction not so much. Further, there appears to be somewhat of a gender balance writing fiction as opposed to non-fiction.
The most popular genre in fiction books:
The most popular genre in non-fiction:
(Yup, and I fall smack-dab into the middle of both of those!)
But wait, are these real sales or a popularity contest? There is a big difference in the various bestselling lists, NY Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and The Wall Street Journal. Are they tracking sales through established book outlets or selecting books with rabid interest; not sales. (Does that explain how Fifty Shades of Grey managed to get off the ground?) While the method may include sales figures, it is a source of controversy whether it or not it also includes, and/or how much of, other data and well as use of their own guidelines (which they won’t disclose). It is considered “editorial content.”
I’ve had the good fortune since discovering NetGalley of downloading a number of NYT bestsellers and bestselling authors (see books below) merely for the implied promise of a read and review. And speaking of editorial content, the books are also listed on Goodreads, a source of impartial reviews, possibly more so than Amazon. Of course, that is another subject for discussion on which I posted and invite your comments.
The take-away regardless of which list you use as a guide for your choice of reading content is that you should exercise your own healthy skepticism. Yes, I’m releasing this post on a Tuesday, but no, I have no expectations.
So, do you notice that little designation and buy or request with confidence? Do you have a recent new favorite? I’d love to hear it!
©2019 V Williams
My NYT reviews:
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