The New York Times Best-Seller List, the gold standard for authors, revealed a little bit of how they choose the books that make the list in today’s newspaper (October 21, 2007). You’ll have to subscribe to the online edition to read the article as the site is membership driven.
Interesting insights include:
– bulk sales are discounted in the sales ranking as they don’t want anyone to “game” their system. (Gee, who would do that???)
– long-standing books are sometimes tossed off the list. This rule is rather inconsistent, as “Night” by Elie Weisel was kicked off recently, even though other books that have been on the list for 2-3 years are still on the list, like “The Tipping Point,” or “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
Read the article for other interesting points.
One truth the article didn’t mention is the value of good publicity in book sales. Current PR LEADS clients Tim Ferriss’ “Four Hour Work Week,” and Dr. Mark Hyman’s “Ultrametabolism” books both made strides on the NY Times Best-Seller List because of their PR and marketing campaigns.