Monday, February 29, 2016

What Does "Best Seller" Mean?

A harsh take, but a good point. article, by Brent Underwood "What Does it Take to be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes."

In brief, the articles points out:

As with most best seller lists, Amazon's designation of "Best Seller" status is flawed. Updated hourly, with obscure, little-used categories, the ranking can be achieved easier than you might think. The author then goes on to show how he did just that.

While clearly not the same as ranking #1, or high, in a popular category, the point that this can be achieved quickly is worthwhile — and those writers out there gaming the system for prestige, or false social proof, should exercise authenticity.

Now, it can be said that Amazon will (mostly) raise quality books, and the overhead of eBooks isn't there like it was during the crash of the videogame industry in the early 80's (when a flood of lackluster videogames went unsold). But no one is rewarded by virtual eBook pulp in Amazon's great landfill Cloud.

Hourly updates. They appeal to the web-driven need for instant everything, and sound good but how representative are they for what actually matters? (Like quality?)

Should Amazon's list ranking be retooled? Make it more indicative of reality? Or does it just take away the ability for new authors to make a mark alongside big names that have big marketing budgets?

For the responsible, passionate writers out there, this article is not for us. Instead, it is for the reader that lies unaware of a sordid few that are trying to game the system.

The article could use a little more balanced explanation. I wouldn't want the takeaway of a casual reader to be that Amazon Best Sellers never mean anything. They can, and certainly do.

To the false advertisers out there, we give a solid nod of the head: We know what you are doing.

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