The New York Times Best Seller’s List

Ok- so this isn’t per se an award. BUT it is a fairly recognizable honor and if an author or book has achieved it, you can be SURE the publisher will make sure it lands on EVERY cover the author EVER produces EVER again. 🙂

Locally, this list usually gets printed weekly in the paper, but they may just do a few of the categories. I know I was surprised at how many there are:

An asterisk (*) indicates that a book’s sales are barely distinguishable from those of the book above it. A dagger (†) indicates that some retailers report receiving bulk orders.

The methodology for this was more complex than I realized. Vendors  report their sales (identified by ISBN 10 & 13 #’s), which are then statistically weighted to reflect known trends. For e-books, the media is not old enough to have that statistical background, so those are unweighted. The exact specifics are copyrighted as a trade secret, but there you go. Thousands of vendors are represented, making the whole process valid.

From the NYT Website:

Rankings reflect sales reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles. The sales venues for print books include independent book retailers; national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; supermarkets, university, gift and discount department stores; and newsstands. E-book rankings reflect sales from leading online vendors of e-books in a variety of popular e-reader formats.

E-book sales are tracked for fiction and general nonfiction titles. E-book sales for advice & how-to books, children’s books and graphic books will be tracked at a future date. Titles are included regardless of whether they are published in both print and electronic formats or just one format. E-books available exclusively from a single vendor will be tracked at a future date.

Trivia time!

Per Wikipedia, this list has a great impact on the sales of lesser known authors, but no impact on repeat visitors like Grisham or Danielle Steele. 

The list has been continuous since 1942. wow.

There have been cases of authors buying 10,000 copies of their own book in order to get on the list, so that they would profit from the speaking engagements, etc. crazy. While technically legal, this is generally frowned upon.

I also thought it was interesting per the NYT site that PERENNIAL best sellers, such as books on school reading lists, the Bible or Koran, etc. are not listed.

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