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Buying Your Way Onto the NY Times Bestsellers List

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the next-you're-going-to-tell-me-letterman's-top10-is-made-up dept.

Books 110

Freshly Exhumed writes "An endorsement from Oprah Winfrey; a film deal from Steven Spielberg; a debut at the top of The New York Times bestsellers list. These are the things every author craves most. While the first two require the favor of a benevolent deity, the third can be had by anyone with the ability to write a check — a pretty big one, to ResultSource, a San Diego-based marketing consultancy — in what Forbes says is essentially a laundering operation aimed at deceiving the book-buying public into believing a title is more in-demand than it is. Soren Kaplan, a business consultant and speaker, hired ResultSource to promote his book Leapfrogging. Responding to the WSJ article on his website, Kaplan breaks out the economics of making the list. 'It's no wonder few people in the industry want to talk about bestseller campaigns,' he writes. 'Put bluntly, they allow people with enough money, contacts, and know-how to buy their way onto bestseller lists.'"

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And this is different (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42995985)

from how the rest of the world operates?

Re:And this is different (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996081)

Seriously, I'm trying to wonder who would be so naive or child-like to think people with, "...enough money, contacts and know-how..." somehow aren't the ones that accomplish 99% of everything anywhere. That's how it's been since we still wore pelts and threw rocks at one another.

Manipulate the process until you own it. Or be content sitting out of the race.

Re:And this is different (0)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996133)

slashtarts? people who think the world is like star wars or star trek and everyone is always open and truthful and only hard work is enough

truth is there are lots of people with an idea close to yours and you need to market your idea to make money on it

Re:And this is different (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996807)

Only the 1% wore pelts. The rest were in loincloths or naked. Now go out and hunt me some more pelts...

Re:And this is different (1)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001107)

The pelts of those 7 puppies aren't enough for you?

Man, neolithic ruling elite sure are greedy.

Re:And this is different (3, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001173)

Seriously, I'm trying to wonder who would be so naive or child-like to think people with, "...enough money, contacts and know-how..." somehow aren't the ones that accomplish 99% of everything anywhere. That's how it's been since we still wore pelts and threw rocks at one another.

Manipulate the process until you own it. Or be content sitting out of the race.

It's why we invented things like democracy and taxes. They limit the absolute abuses of the 1%.

Re:And this is different (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996695)

New York Times...nuff said.

Re:And this is different (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996903)

It's not quite enough. The problem is people remain convinced that they should continue to take the list seriously. The big publishing houses trumpet it on book jackets, other reviewers continue to reference it, TV shows continue to reference it. It's part of a self-referential promotional engine that shows no sign of collapsing.

Re:And this is different (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997123)

I cannot think of a single book purchase I've made in the last 25 years that was in any way related to any top ten list. I think I may glance at the NYT's list maybe once every year or two, and about the most I get out of it is "Oh yeah, there's that book I read."

Re:And this is different (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997881)

If you read a book that was on the list, you were influenced. Those ratings affect everything, including whether or not they showed up on the shelves at your local bookstore, on the end cap at your local grocery store, or in an airport convenience store.

It's the buyers for those businesses who use that list to make purchasing decisions. Those are the folks who put power in the list.

Re:And this is different (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42999219)

I cannot think of a single book purchase I've made in the last 25 years that was in any way related to any top ten list.

You are not the publishing chain's customer. Bookbuyers are much lower down the food chain than that.

Vendors are the target of these paid endorsements. The books that appear on that NYT list are far more likely appear in newsagents and booksellers as a result. Your opportunities to buy are preselected based on list like this.

Think of yourself as krill instead of whale...

Re:And this is different (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001829)

If you look at airport and station bookshops, they typically have most of their book display space dedicated to the top 50 current bestsellers. A lot of people go to these shops in a hurry and just want something to read on the plane / train, so you get a big bump in sales. A lot of other shops have a wall dedicated to the top n books, so they get a lot more promotion space. They'll get a whole shelf each, whereas other books get 2-3 copies on a shelf with a dozen or so others.

It's been known for a few decades that the bestsellers list is open to manipulation, so I don't know why this is news.

Re:And this is different (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996843)

This is something that I have never understood. Okay, so 27 billion people have read a book. I glance at it. It's a dry looking piece of shit, no artwork, the author is someone I've not read, the synopsis is unappealing - so I throw it back at the bookshelf that it came from.

I don't CARE that 80 gazillion little girls found this book fascinating. I'm not a little girl.

I don't CARE that two million law enforcement officers approve of the book. I'm not a cop.

I don't CARE that two billion Catholics approve of this author. I'm not Catholic, and sometimes I wonder if I even want to be a Christian anymore.

I just don't give a rat's ass that every redneck in the country loves the book, because some dilrod from NASCAR wrote it. I'm not a redneck, and I'm not a NASCAR fan. (Someone is going to call me out here - rednecks probably can't read, and NASCAR drivers probably can't write.)

Do people actually run out to buy a book just because Oprah reviewed it? Really? Don't you know that Oprah didn't really READ the damned book? She paid someone to browse through it, and to tell her the highlights, so that she could talk about the book on her show. Even if Oprah really did read the book, and she liked it, why in hell does that mean that I am going to like it? Oprah and I have almost NOTHING in common. She's black, she's female, she's fat, she's homely - alright, homely - we do have one thing in common. Has she reviewed a book that can make middle aged men look like they looked at age 20?

Re:And this is different (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998421)

Do people actually run out to buy a book just because Oprah reviewed it? Really?

Yes, yes.

Oprah and I have almost NOTHING in common.

Well, your DNA is damned near identical. I mean, compared to a sea cucumber.

Do people buy a book because Oprah reviewed it? (2)

dgharmon (2564621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42999283)

"Do people actually run out to buy a book just because Oprah reviewed it? Really?"

Yes, really, see the The Oprah Effect [cnbc.com]

Re:And this is different (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001205)

Do people actually run out to buy a book just because Oprah reviewed it?

Well, yes. Publishers don't spend money on marketing for the fun of it.

Re:And this is different (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43001411)

True. This is not news, though it may be proof. It's how right wing nut jobs get their books on this list all the time, to try to convince their followers that they're legitimate. You'd have to go a long way to convince me most of their followers can even read.

Not the first time, nor the last (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42995991)

The authors of a business book called "The Discipline of Market Leaders" successfully manipulated the NY Times bestseller list in the '90s by buying thousands of copies of their own books at selected retailers (a paragraph on that episode appears here [wikipedia.org] ). Ironically, reviewers agreed that the book was actually pretty good, even after the authors' dicey behavior came to light.

And of course, Amazon.com is manipulated all the time by shills posting book and product reviews by allegedly disinterested customers. So is Zagat, and every other popular wiki review site.

Re:Not the first time, nor the last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996165)

So the most important writing skill to learn is how to write a check? WooHoo! I'm qualified to be a best selling be author!

Re:Not the first time, nor the last (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996477)

So the most important writing skill to learn is how to write a check? WooHoo! I'm qualified to be a best selling be author!

No. The trick is to damp the natural resonances of the check.

Re:Not the first time, nor the last (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42999251)

And of course, Amazon.com is manipulated all the time by shills posting book and product reviews by allegedly disinterested customers. So is Zagat, and every other popular wiki review site.

That seems unlikely.

Windows has been very stable for years now. I haven't seen a Win 7 bluescreen that wasn't caused by bad hardware for more than a decade. It's probably a driver problem. If you get viruses on your Windows intall, it's because you don't know what you're doing. Or you were doing something shady. Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

I, Libertine (5, Interesting)

sk999 (846068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996005)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I,_Libertine [wikipedia.org]

This book, by Frederick C. Ewing, made the best-seller list in spite of the fact that neither it nor the author even existed. The hoax was perpetrated by Jean Shepherd and his radio audience to protest the way the lists were compiled - this was back in 1956.

Re:I, Libertine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996179)

Should we even care? If people keep buying books because they're on some list, what makes you think they care about the quality of the content?

Re:I, Libertine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996231)

That woosh was so loud the top of my head was splapped by the plane wing.

Re:I, Libertine (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996189)

Shepherd tells the story of the hoax here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tCfVhsTj-E [youtube.com]

People lie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996391)

Deception has become the foundation of communication in the modern world.
I basically assume everything is a lie until proven otherwise.

So what if the lists are wrong? (1)

kramer2718 (598033) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996845)

I don't care which books are being read by the most people. I want to read books that are well-written, fun, and/or informative. What the herd reads doesn't matter to me.

Unless you are a book critic, I would suggest that you ignore what the herd reads as well.

Re:So what if the lists are wrong? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42999645)

Only thing is, when you're shopping for books, you (even if you say otherwise) are influenced by your perception of what other people who have read the book thought of it. Everything is bought and paid for though. Many of the book critics are pay-to-play operations. The gush over books on contract. Here's an article about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/book-reviewers-for-hire-meet-a-demand-for-online-raves.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com] And now we find that the bestseller lists, which one would think are an indication that a lot of people like or at least bought the book are bought and paid for too.

So what's left? Ever hear the one about judging a book by its cover? Well, that's what the cover is for. It's an advertisement. It's got a pretty picture by somebody who may or may not have read the book but is more likely just working from a description of what the author and their publishing company agreed ought to be on there. Because seriously, that guy's an artist and he has to make a living. He doesn't have time to read fiction fergoshsakes. And there's the publisher-approved and paid-for blurbs describing how awesome the author is and how touching or exciting the story is. It's all a PR machine, every bit of it.

There are only a couple of things that are halfway reliable as indicators -- recommendations from PEOPLE YOU KNOW and the name of the author. Because if the author wrote another really good book you at least know that person is CAPABLE of writing a good book. But even that isn't so great. I've often read second and third books by authors who had previously done good work only to find their latest novel or installment in a series was utter shit.

Re:So what if the lists are wrong? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001233)

There are only a couple of things that are halfway reliable as indicators -- recommendations from PEOPLE YOU KNOW and the name of the author

The opinion of a good critic is worth most of all.

Re:So what if the lists are wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43000441)

Great. How do you find books? I'm not particularly interested in the NYT Bestseller list, but ultimately you are going to depend on someone else to direct you to good things to read unless you have an unlimited tolerance for bad writing.

brick and mortar google bomb. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996015)

n/t

Oprah is bought and paid for too. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996061)

WHat makes the submitter think that getting on Oprah's list any different? She takes sponsorships all the damn time, or you think she really presents things of her own choosing all the time? Like saying how awesome Surface was while sending it from her iPad?

discussion on HN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996063)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5271516

"Art" is a commodity (0)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996085)

Most books and movies are the same. Look at half the scifi books on amazon. Humans fighting aliens for some reason

When this happens you go with brand name or marketing to tell you what everyone else is buying

I check out the free books that indie authors drop the price on amazon to market their other books, and most times I rarely read them. They aren't that good and I go back to the brand name

Re:"Art" is a commodity (4, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996407)

Most books and movies are the same. Look at half the scifi books on amazon. Humans fighting aliens for some reason

Is that really all you see in SciFi books?

These are not documentaries to teach you facts -- so a second book that has humans fighting aliens is not a repeat. It's about the delivery -- good plot and/or mystery, interesting character development, etc.

The aliens are sometimes (in good books, anyway) there just to provide a little more freedom in story-telling

Re:"Art" is a commodity (4, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996933)

Scholars will tell you there are only 8 to 18 (depending on the scholar) unique plots in all of human civilization.

Given the sheer number of stories we tell on a daily basis let alone all history...some overlap should hardly be surprising.

Re:"Art" is a commodity (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001277)

Scholars will tell you there are only 8 to 18 (depending on the scholar) unique plots in all of human civilization.

Given the sheer number of stories we tell on a daily basis let alone all history...some overlap should hardly be surprising.

That sort of reductive structuralist approach is entirely unhelpful in deciding whether or not a work of art is any good. It's like saying that all detective fiction has the same story as it's about A committing a crime against B, or that Fifty Shades of Grey is basically the same plot as Anna Karenina as it's A falling in love with B.

Well, thanks, that really narrows it down.

Re:"Art" is a commodity (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43002119)

Scholars will tell you there are only 8 to 18 (depending on the scholar) unique plots in all of human civilization.

UltraWord will increase the number of possible plots well beyond the 8-plot limit imposed by the old BookOS.

Re:"Art" is a commodity (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996973)

the "brand name" as you call it, and i must assume you mean the "known" author is a known author not because he is quality, but because AT ONE TIME he sold a significant QUANTITY of books. and oft times, quality isnt even required (*cough* twilight *cough*)

Re:"Art" is a commodity (1)

HJED (1304957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997089)

Really, personally I have found a lot of brilliant independent books on Amazon. You just have to read the reviews first to check that it is actually readable.

Re:"Art" is a commodity (3, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997749)

Most books and movies are the same. Look at half the scifi books on amazon. Humans fighting aliens for some reason

Yeah. Every book I've read is just a sequence of words, one after the other. All the same!

Re:"Art" is a commodity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42999759)

Yeah, and don't get you started on how they keep re-using the same letters...

Re:"Art" is a commodity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42999035)

Most books and movies are the same. Look at half the scifi books on amazon. Humans fighting aliens for some reason

Then I guess ALL of human history are also the same? After all, nearly 100% of it were humans fighting humans for some reason.

Re:"Art" is a commodity (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42999361)

Most books and movies are the same. Look at half the scifi books on amazon. Humans fighting aliens for some reason

I look at half the SciFi books on amazon and they are human fighting humans (one of the seven conflicts) Aliens aren't as predominate in SciFi as you might think.
But in reality, yes most stories are similar. What is your point?

Re:"Art" is a commodity (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001239)

Not sure if a troll, or whether poster is just a philistine moron. As this is slashdot, it's impossible to tell for sure.

Same with mobile apps (5, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996093)

There are companies that will "buy" your app to get you on the top of apple's charts

Apple has even been cracking down on it

Re:Same with mobile apps (1)

nametaken (610866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996359)

I guess the nice part of that is that you give them a few grand, they buy the app, and you make back most of the money they spent on your app.

With these book campaigns you've preordered 3,000 books made of actual plant matter, that costs serious money, and you don't make the majority of that back in a sales check. You have to count on making it back with the, "New York Times Bestseller" moniker, over the rest of your professional life.

Re:Same with mobile apps (1)

Bronster (13157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997933)

What do you think happens to those books? They don't magically disappear into thin air. They can be put in a box and sent to a store again.

Re:Same with mobile apps (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998077)

What do you think happens to those books? They don't magically disappear into thin air. They can be put in a box and sent to a store again.

that still assumes they'll eventually get sold.

but maybe the point is that the amounts aren't really that great.

He should write a book about that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996109)

n/t

Scientologists have been doing this for decades (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996111)

How do you think all those gods-awful L. Ron Hubbard books got on the best seller lists? The cult members were ordered to buy as mony copies as possible of *every single book*, then they would return them to the book store a week later. And if the stores refused them, they'd "contribute" the stores to librraries. They'd especially do this if the libraries had books by former members explaining the cult secrets, to get the demystification books off the shelves, combined with campaigns to steal the demystification books.

Take a good look at the history of "The Scandal of Scientology", published by Paulette Cooper, and how the cult killed that book. Then ask your local librarian about why they have so many copies of Dianetics and Battlefield Earth and any of the L. Ron Hubbard fiction in the last 20 years. (They'd get hundreds of copies from cult members after each new book.) And ask the local bookstore owners, if you can get them to discuss it at all. The cult would even isolate the bookstores that were surveyed for bestseller lists and aim members at *those* bookstores, although modern data collection has made this more difficult to aim. (It's easier now to collect the data from *all* bookstores and directly from publishers.)

Re:Scientologists have been doing this for decades (4, Funny)

Troll-in-Training (1815480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997883)

How do you think all those gods-awful L. Ron Hubbard books got on the best seller lists? The cult members were ordered to buy as mony copies as possible of *every single book*, then they would return them to the book store a week later. And if the stores refused them, they'd "contribute" the stores to libraries.

This explains why the public library I visited when I was a kid had the entire Mission Earth series. It was quite possibly the most horrible thing I have ever read. I read the entire 10 book series in 2 days because it was so utterly insane, so incredibly bad that I couldn't stop reading. It was obvious that copious quantites of powerful mind altering substances were used in the creation of those novels.

I remember thinking to myself as I read :

This is a product of mind on drugs...

lots and lots of drugs...

very powerful drugs... "

If this is what LSD does it is very very very bad.

It was because of L Ron Hubbard and his Mission Earth series that I resolved never ever to use LSD or any other hallucinogen. Anything that could inspire the type of warped, demented and utterly insane thought that went into those books and the poor judgement that resulted in releasing those books for public consumption was clearly a bad thing to be avoided at any cost.

Re:Scientologists have been doing this for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42998419)

Kudos

Re:Scientologists have been doing this for decades (1)

Troll-in-Training (1815480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998947)

I was 15 years old at the time I read those books, 3/4 of my social circle was into various drugs, L Ron Hubbard's books kept me sober not from the message, but simply because he was serious. That he wasn't trying to write a parody or comedy, that he actually thought he was writing a serious work of literature is something that haunts me to this day. In writing those novels Mr. Hubbard created the most potent warning against drug use that the human race has ever known, the mere fact of their existence is a warning to all mankind of the dangers of drugs. The epic and colossal amount of fail which those novels contain is beyond the ability of words to convey.

20 years later I still have nightmares about the suckage contained within those books. At the mention of Hubbard's name I am compelled to warn others of the horror contained within those pages, a compulsion that is not sated until I find a library copy of his books, steal them, and burn them while screaming DIE DIE DIE as I bludgeon the embers with an axe. For weeks afterwards I mutter curses and deprications against his name, ocassionally screaming them at passerby as I walk down the street. Eventually I forget about the horror until somone mentions his name and the cycle begins again.

The psychological trama those books inflict on their readers is permanent, please don't let my suffering go to waste -- DONT LET KIDS READ HUBBARD.

I admit it, I need help, but I'm too scared of drugs to see a shrink.

Re:Scientologists have been doing this for decades (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001291)

I read the entire 10 book series in 2 days because it was so utterly insane, so incredibly bad that I couldn't stop reading

I've never found that works with books. Really bad films and TV shows are different, because you can just let it wash over you and drunkenly pick out the egregious parts. But really bad books are simply too painful and require too much effort to make it worth it.

I assume this of all business books (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996121)

I assume that all business books. I mean it is like a bunch of kids. If one laughs they all laugh. So if a book sells a lot, then other frims thinking there are missing out on something.

I have also seen another effect through team building. Some writes a book, often gibberish, but then consultants use it to market team building or efficiency seminars. Every seminar involves dozens of books, which generate revenue for the author. Of course, if the seminars are going to be successful, the book must have been a best seller. An upfront investment of $100K, and maybe the cost of ghost writer, can generate years of income.

Re:I assume this of all business books (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996425)

I assume that all business books. I mean it is like a bunch of kids. If one laughs they all laugh. So if a book sells a lot, then other frims thinking there are missing out on something.

I have also seen another effect through team building. Some writes a book, often gibberish, but then consultants use it to market team building or efficiency seminars. Every seminar involves dozens of books, which generate revenue for the author. Of course, if the seminars are going to be successful, the book must have been a best seller. An upfront investment of $100K, and maybe the cost of ghost writer, can generate years of income.

FFS Slashdot, how does parent get modded +5 Interesting? Parent is spewing same gibberish that content of post references, citing NO sources in the process. P.S. Amazon does a fantastic job of rating business books. Good ones have 1000+ reviews with 4.5 stars or above. The rest get trashed pretty quickly and have less than 10 reviews.

Re:I assume this of all business books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996579)

Why does an anonymous coward get to claim that there are good books on Amazon without providing a citation of a good book, and describe how Amazon does a better job rating book? At least the poster should be honest and show us see your 'well rated book' or your 'top rated consultant firm' so we can judge fore ourselves. Prove that he or she is not one of those consultants who waste many of our productive hours every week, in the process cost us points on evaluation and raises, all so they can sell books or charge $1000 a day spouting nonsense

I am sure most of us on /. have our own story about being forced to read a silly book about how it is our fault that management cannot make enough money to satisfy the stakeholders, and then sit in a meeting being told if we just did this one thing, this silver bullet, we could get a free lunch. Well, I know, because I read real books, and live in the real world, that there are no silver bullets to solve problems and there is no free lunch. Not at least for those of us who have to produce something for a living.

But this anonymous poster will continue to prey on the gullible management and waste everyones time. Everyone has to make a living, even the parasites, trolls, and pop psychology and business book writers.

Re:I assume this of all business books (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998113)

I assume that all business books. I mean it is like a bunch of kids. If one laughs they all laugh. So if a book sells a lot, then other frims thinking there are missing out on something.

I have also seen another effect through team building. Some writes a book, often gibberish, but then consultants use it to market team building or efficiency seminars. Every seminar involves dozens of books, which generate revenue for the author. Of course, if the seminars are going to be successful, the book must have been a best seller. An upfront investment of $100K, and maybe the cost of ghost writer, can generate years of income.

FFS Slashdot, how does parent get modded +5 Interesting? Parent is spewing same gibberish that content of post references, citing NO sources in the process.

P.S. Amazon does a fantastic job of rating business books. Good ones have 1000+ reviews with 4.5 stars or above. The rest get trashed pretty quickly and have less than 10 reviews.

replace team building with multilevel marketing. oh wait you don't have to.
and google the sales tactics up.

if you're such an idiot that you read 10 business /attitude building books a year, maybe you're the sort of idiot who goes and rates them up based solely on that you bought them and you wouldn't buy a bad book...

Music 'Industry' No Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996159)

I've seen first hand the same thing happen with music- even greenlighted by the artists themselves. Hitting various targets on Billboard Charts like Genre, Hot 100, Heatseekers, and even the 'uncharted' are all gamed like this. It's so norm now that it's often even included directly in the marketing plans and budgets.

Re:Music 'Industry' No Different (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996185)

there are not enough hours in the day to read every good book or listen to every good song or watch every good movie

that's why these charts exist. people are still into herd mentality

Re:Music 'Industry' No Different (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001307)

there are not enough hours in the day to read every good book or listen to every good song or watch every good movie

It depends on how you define "good". For instance, in any year, I'd say there were less than half a dozen really good new films, and an awful lot of watchable ones (plus a few genuine turkeys). Once you've caught up on the classics, it's not hard to have seen every really good film ever made.

Books are different because (a) there are a lot more of them and (b) they take longer to get through. You have to have some way of filtering the good from the bad. I am unwilling to waste a couple of evenings reading a book that I get nothing out of.

Selling appearances (4, Interesting)

Cruciform (42896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996175)

Look at someone like Ann Coulter. Her target audience wouldn't bother to read the book, so why does it become a best seller? Because that part is engineered. The lets Coulter and her ilk make their money on public appearances. An ingenious scam, and doesn't even require writing ability.

Re:Selling appearances (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996257)

"The lets Coulter and her ilk make their money on public appearances."

Yeah let's rip in to her for her writing ability when 1/3rd of the paragraph you crafted was unreadable.

Re:Selling appearances (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996409)

You need to think outside of your own little social circle. I've seen Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'reilly's books on many a coffee table. I often suspect that the owners of the books likely never read them but put them out as some kind of statement to guests, but whatever. I've read bits and pieces and most of their content is directed at conservatives that are likely not very good at debate, and the books basically a guide regarding how to frame their arguments when arguing their political points. They serve a purpose, and they have no need to be on the newyork times best seller lists. In fact, Bill O'reilly's books have often been blackballed from the list despite being the number one selling book in the country for several weeks running.

Re:Selling appearances (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996915)

Citation needed.

Re:Selling appearances (1)

Pi Is A Rational (1106177) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997523)

Agreed.

Re:Selling appearances (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42997325)

If you've seen many books by the likes of Coulter, Limbaugh, and O'Rielly on many coffee tables, you need to expand your social circle. Only by limiting your associates to members of the RNC would you get such a warped view of the world.

Re:Selling appearances (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#43000529)

If you've seen many books by the likes of Coulter, Limbaugh, and O'Rielly on many coffee tables, you need to expand your social circle. Only by limiting your associates to members of the RNC would you get such a warped view of the world.

It could have been one person with multiple coffee tables full of books.

Re:Selling appearances (3, Insightful)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997849)

Look at someone like Ann Coulter. Her target audience wouldn't bother to read the book, so why does it become a best seller? Because that part is engineered. The lets Coulter and her ilk make their money on public appearances. An ingenious scam, and doesn't even require writing ability.

I have to disagree. I've read a few of her books and while I disagree with many, many points she makes, she does indeed write well and she is very funny if only you go into it with the proper mindset. If you don't, it all falls flat.

Don't think I'm trolling. Comedy is based on twists made to something shared between the comedian and the public. Take anything meant to make people laugh that comes outside from your cultural framework, for example a translation of some of the ancient Greek comedies available online, and try to laugh at the jokes. Most of the time you won't even notice what *is* a joke. The context is so alien that the "punch line" simply isn't.

On the other hand, conservatives also have a very hard time noticing the joke in liberal comedy about conservatism, much less laughing at it. For them to be able to do so would require them to stop, concentrate, start thinking as liberals for the duration of the reading, allow themselves to laugh, then go back thinking as conservatives. Most people, on both sides of the political spectrum, simply aren't mentally flexible enough to do that.

I have no problem with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996223)

If celebrity endorsements get authors on bestsellers lists, then I have no problem with people subverting those lists. Why respect something designed to spoon-feed people their culture? Next you'll be saying music streaming services are bad because they don't follow the playlists dreamed up by Clear Channel and the RIAA. "But, but, those aren't serving up the popular artists that our marketing experts have determined will sell best to people, and that we force on to the public through our control of the media! It's so cynical!"

This is news? (0)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996235)

I've always assumed that Winfrey's endorsement was for sale as well.

Re:This is news? (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998551)

I've always assumed that Winfrey's endorsement was for sale as well.

I'm sure it costs more.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43000797)

“Gotta say love that [Microsoft] SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings,” * Sent from my iPad.

Love, Oprah

What? (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996259)

Rich people bend the rules?

Say it ain't so!

Very Selective Lists (2)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996267)

It has long been acknowledged that the "Best Seller" lists limit themselves to certain genres anyhow. For instance, romances and science fiction books which actually outsell many mainstream "best sellers" simply don't appear on the big best seller lists.

I tend to think of best seller lists as being of interest to people buying books in airports, and not much else.

Re:Very Selective Lists (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43001327)

It has long been acknowledged that the "Best Seller" lists limit themselves to certain genres anyhow. For instance, romances and science fiction books which actually outsell many mainstream "best sellers" simply don't appear on the big best seller lists.

That's mainly because genre fiction has much more of a long tail. With the exceptions of phenomena like the Fifty Shades of Grey books, best sellers tend to sell a lot in a few weeks.

How was this not obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996275)

You hire someone to go out and buy your books so it looks like you're a bestseller. Who knew this happened all the time?

Scientology tactics become mainstream (4, Informative)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996277)

The Criminal Cult of Scientology has been doing this for decades [latimes.com] . The only surprise is how long it took others to start.

Obvious - best seller before it is printed - duh (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996355)

It is pretty obvious that a printer cannot know that a book will be on a best seller list before it is printed and there is no way to print covers retroactively. Yet, lots of people probably get fooled by it.

Re:Obvious - best seller before it is printed - du (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996473)

For a hardcover, they could simply replace the dust jacket with one that says "Bestseller" after it has made the list.

I doubt this amount of effort is put towards being legit, but it is at least possible.

Re:Obvious - best seller before it is printed - du (1)

Idarubicin (579475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998921)

It is pretty obvious that a printer cannot know that a book will be on a best seller list before it is printed and there is no way to print covers retroactively.

[citation needed], please. I assume that you can actually show some real examples of first-edition hardcovers with preprinted "bestseller" covers, right?

A common formulation I see on covers is "By the bestselling author..." or "By the bestselling author of Foo...", both of which can be true before the book is printed.

Another option is to print a "bestseller" dust jacket for the second print run. (In principle, the dust jackets on the original first editions could even be replaced with the "bestseller" jackets, but I doubt that anyone goes to the trouble.)

Another variation is to affix a "bestseller" sticker to the cover of the first edition, after the book makes the bestseller list.

Yet another possibility is that the hardcover made its bestseller list, allowing the first print run of the trade paperback or mass-market paperback editions to bear the "bestseller" tag.

Trivial if you have the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996403)

You can always do this with money. Buy enough of your own book that it actually is a best seller for a while. And if it works, make money by selling the stack of books you now have. Not so fun if it doesn't work though . . .

You can buy your way in any list... (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996457)

Top 40? Marketing money (altough thanks to web this has started to change). Box office? Marketing money (but not only). And let's not start with "special introducions" or playing song three times in one hour. Why it should be any different with books? People waste incredibly huge money for so called marketing and exposure.

NY Times (-1, Troll)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996637)

It should come as no surprise to anyone that anything that has anything to do with the New York Times is a total scam.

Between authors that blatantly plagiarize other works to "journalists" that just make up facts, the NY Times has no credibility as a journalism organization. Why they are still allowed to retain "press" status is beyond me.

Re:NY Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42996743)

Name ten major organizations that do deserve to retain press status.

Re:NY Times (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997031)

Completely irrelevant. You are drawing a conclusion that is not supported by my post.

Re:NY Times (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#43000553)

The New York Times is in fact a paper of record. [wikipedia.org]

Typical (1)

guygo (894298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996647)

Typical American Elitist crap. If you have enough money you don't wait in lines like the rest of us, you don't have to earn your place in society you can just buy it, you don't have any real merit to your life so you just buy your way into whatever you want. More of the 1% supporting the 1% and screw the rest of you.

You really can buy yourself into most things now (1)

sheRaids (2824757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42996959)

It's almost like talent doesn't even matter

Re:You really can buy yourself into most things no (1)

Torodung (31985) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997141)

Oh, it matters. It's just that it is not enough, and it is not the indispensable determining factor for a publication's marketing success. But success+talent beats money making "success" in every meaningful way that I can imagine, just not necessarily in terms of monetary gain.

This is a core strategy for Scientology (1)

Zadaz (950521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42997135)

Scientology has been doing this for years, keeping Dianetics on the top of the charts. Members buy the books in bulk then send them back to the publisher - often in their original boxes - which are then sent back to booksellers.

At least ebooks make book laundering difficult and more expensive.

Really so surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42997517)

Is it really so surprising, that given a list of the best selling gadgets -- you can buy enough of your thing so your thing is on the best selling list?
I mean, it's counting the number of things sold. Just bundle your sales so they are in one week at the beginning, and you are on the list for that week.
I guess the "mystery" was how many sales that would require.
I wouldn't call it cheating; I would call it "how the game is played".

What some authors might crave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42997709)

These are the things every author craves most.

No, I don't think the author of "Latvian military aircraft 1912 to 1934" gives the slightest damn about such things.

Irrelevant (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year and a half ago | (#42998475)

People actually pay attention to the NYTimes best seller list??? I never have. I find an author I like and read their books. Occasionally I'll look at reviews on Amazon but those have to be taken with a table spoon of salt. I read a lot of books and I've never looked at the NYTimes rating. Best is to be able to read a few pages randomly in the book. That tells me more than any review.

Sure. (1)

DuranDuran (252246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42999965)

> An endorsement from Oprah Winfrey; a film deal from Steven Spielberg; a debut at the top of The New York Times bestsellers list. These are the things every author craves most.

Yeah. I'm sure Solzhenitsyn craved Oprah's blessing.

Seriously, this is not news (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43000141)

Not news at all.

I have never, N E V E R taken the NYT BS list seriously. If a novel, can debut at #1, it should be obvious that the fix is in, the list is rigged, it's either buying the spot or paying off the managers quietly.

When I began to consider buying books for entertainment, I realized this whole best-seller stuff was as fake as can be.

And while we're at it, those books released a week before the next version of whatever is actually shipped. Advertising. Pathetic.

Re:Seriously, this is not news (2)

Burz (138833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43000519)

I..

Slashdot, where the first-person anecdote is still tirelessly trumpeted at evidence.

(Hint: Its not about you.)

BTW, never say "never".

Old news -- but good to keep in the public eye. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43000959)

Not news, but the n00bs out there need to know.

One Word: LRonHubbard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43002975)

The largest selling author in the universe since Xneu destroyed the galatic federation!

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