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Books The Almighty Buck News

Buying Your Way Onto the NY Times Bestsellers List 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the next-you're-going-to-tell-me-letterman's-top10-is-made-up dept.
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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Buying Your Way Onto the NY Times Bestsellers List

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @01:58PM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:01PM (#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.

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:48PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:57PM (#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.

  • by plover (150551) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:11PM (#42996903) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by dywolf (2673597) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @04:16PM (#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.

  • by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Sunday February 24, 2013 @06:25PM (#42997849) Homepage

    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.

  • by plover (150551) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @06:29PM (#42997881) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by tehcyder (746570) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:26AM (#43001173) Journal

    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%.

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