The Times, of course, is the biggie. Other important lists are provided by USA Today, Amazon.com, IndieBound, Publishers Weekly and Barnes & Noble.
There is often disagreement among the bestseller lists and it may not be obvious how the lists are calculated. For example, online booksellers and “big box” stores may be excluded.
- A book about flea removal from pregnant three-legged albino Weimaraners could sell exactly one copy and still be the BESTSELLER IN ITS FIELD. There is no law that requires an explanation on the cover or a footnote inside the book.
- Anyone can call any book a bestseller (or “best-seller” or “best seller”) and the label may help it to achieve more sales—deserved or not deserved.
- Keep in mind that even if a book is on a legitimate list, the fact that many were sold does not necessarily mean that it’s a good book, or even that buyers have read what they've bought.
- There are even fudged bestseller labels that are more the result of marketing than of statistics, such as “summertime bestseller” or “underground bestseller.”
Yesterday, with no manipulation, my newest book, STINKERS! America's worst self-published books was ranked NUMBER EIGHT on one of Amazon's bestseller lists. Today, it was up to NUMBER TWO. That's pretty amazing, especially since I am still tinkering with the book and have not made an official announcement that it's available. It's on a very specific list (maybe a very obscure list), but now I can legitimately call the book a “bestseller.” My wife is not impressed. If you are impressed, please buy the book. It's important, useful and funny.
(pooch pic from http://arizonaweimaranerrescue.com)