Friday, March 01, 2013

Buying your own bestseller

I'd often wondered about those two little words on the front cover of so many new books, irrespective of genre, author 'clout', or even, dare I say it, quality.  Not only that, but books are often released with 'bestseller' already on the cover, which made me think the publishers were either clairvoyant, or insanely optimistic.

This fascinating blog post at The Passive Voice explains all.  The whole thing is based on pre-orders, and on the services of marketing companies who specialise in purchasing, or arranging the purchase of, enough copies of a book to send it straight into the bestseller lists once it's released.

It sounds dodgy, but apparently it goes on all the time, and seems to benefit everyone who takes part.  On the one hand, it's depressing that yet another aspect of the publishing industry (like awards and inclusion on Richard & Judy's lists) is governed by pounds and dollars.  On the other hand, it's perhaps encouraging that with a bit of palm-greasing, you too could be on the next bestseller list.  Assuming you can afford to spray that kind of money around, of course...

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