Understanding the Bestseller List
I've always noticed certain bestselling authors books never appear on some bestseller lists. While authors like Max Lucado or Charles Swindoll have sold millions of books, their books have never appeared on bestseller lists like The New York Times or Publishers Weekly. Earlier this year, I addressed this issue and pointed to an article from Jonathan Merhk in Publishers Weekly.
Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson, wrote a recent post about the inaccuracies of the bestseller list. His explanation has helped my understanding of this area. Yesterday, Mike added to the discussion and explained what it would take to get to a better bestseller list.
His post includes some fascinating links (make sure you look at them). The link which I found fascinating was his compiled list, The Thomas Nelson Top 100. Using proprietary data, he pulled the information from across the various sales channels for this list of the 2006 bestselling books. Why is it different? It is a list you will not find in any other place. Most bestseller lists will segment the hardcover books from the trade paperback books or the fiction hardcover from the nonfiction hardcover. Mike's list rolls everything into one place and you can see which books were the top 100 books for the year.
Why is it important to consider in the first place? Success often drives more success. Many consumers use these list to determine their own reading choices. They will purchase a book of whatever persuasion or genre because it appears on a particular list. Reading groups and book clubs use these list to make their selections. If you write Christian books and those sales channels are excluded from a particular list when it it compiled, see how someone some place is limiting your choices and the overall results? At the end of his post, Mike throws out a challenge to the media outlets to compile a better bestseller list which represents sales across all the various channels. I'd love to see such a list. If that media outlet promoted the list and made news about the story of how their list was compiled, I suspect consumers would gravitate to such a list as a more accurate reflection of what the public is reading and buying. The complete list could have strong exposure in the marketplace.
In the New Year, I hope someone will take up this gauntlet and compile a more accurate bestseller list.