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Books The Almighty Buck News

Buying Your Way Onto the NY Times Bestsellers List 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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Buying Your Way Onto the NY Times Bestsellers List

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  • I, Libertine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sk999 ( 846068 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @01:46PM (#42996005),_Libertine []

    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.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:02PM (#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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:05PM (#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.)

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:09PM (#42996121) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • Selling appearances (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:17PM (#42996175) 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.

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) < minus threevowels> on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:54PM (#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

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @02:54PM (#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.

The absent ones are always at fault.