Friday, July 8, 2011

Can Self-Published Books Be On the NYT Bestseller List?

I ran across an interesting comment today asking about whether or not self-published books are listed as NYT bestsellers. No one seemed to know the answer in the comment thread. And the blogger is one of those who is always above commenting on her own comment thread.

I've been reading about a few self-published authors selling .99 e-books who are getting on the NYT bestseller list, so I went checking around and found this piece. And this is what they said:

Both books sell for $.99. What’s interesting, and sort of odd, is that the list mimics Amazon’s bestseller list, but not entirely. Popular self-published writers Amanda Hocking and John Locke are missing from the Times. As the Times footnotes:

Rankings reflect weekly sales for books sold in both print and electronic formats as reported by vendors offering a wide range of general interest titles.

So this is for print titles as well, except Diary of a Mad Fat Girl is not available for sale in print. So there’s a seeming arbitrariness to the Times list. They both do and don’t allow in self-published titles – it would seem that the books are self-selected, not based on actual sales.


Interesting. What does "self-selected" mean? And why aren't all self-published books allowed on the list?

Then I read this:

"Among the categories not actively tracked at this time are: perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, comics, crossword puzzles and self-published books."
Hmm....


The above is dated from February, so things could have changed by then. But I couldn't find anymore information about it.

Now this is interesting, too:

Even though the New York Times indicated it would not count self-published books on its new ebook bestseller lists, one has made it to the top.

Not surprisingly, it's a book that costs just 99 cents, which might have a lot to do with the high sales. I admit I'm often persuaded to buy an ebook that looks interesting at that price point. Nancy Johnson's Her Last Letter is Number 31 on the "also selling" list of fiction ebooks.


So I'm guessing that if sales are high enough, self-published books can, indeed, be on the NYT bestseller list. If anyone has any knowledge about this, please comment. I'm curious now.

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