Because we said so, that’s why

This post was written by guest blogger Susan Ramsey.

Seems that the Scottish bestseller list bears even less relation to books actually being sold to customers than some of our own. (Check the fine print — that one’s number-ordered-from-publishers.) The London Times reports that a recent investigation revealed that some books on the Scottish list hadn’t sold a single copy in the week in question. (Not that they seem to be grateful.)

What’s odd from the bookseller’s point of view is the self-perpetuating nature of these lists, good or bad. I mean, surely everyone who wants a copy of The DaVinci Code must have three by now? Surely no one rereads it, and we’ve only received one copy for our used-book section. Yet there it sits, week after week, top of the list.

The other peculiar aspect of bestseller lists not necessarily apparent to intelligent non-booksellers (yes, I mean you) is the surprising number of people who assume that if a book is listed, it must be good. “After all, it’s on the bestseller list.”

But take heart, writers. Not only do good books occasionally make it on there, sometimes they have a very long fuse, hitting big only after they go to paper. And by that time you’re well along on the next manuscript, aren’t you? (Via Moby Lives.)


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