Friday, June 8, 2012

Reading Between The Numbers Of Bestseller Lists

Publishers Weekly announced it is recalculating how it scores what is a best-selling book, and based on its new formula it appears that making a best-seller list of some kind is possible if you sell a few thousand books in a given week.

If you want to really understand what sells – and how much of it needs to sell to hit the  bestseller list, take note of my analysis of the bestseller list ending May 27th.

·        James Patterson had three different simultaneous No. 1 sellers – 11th Hour (Hardcover), 10th Anniversary (Audio), and Kill Alex (Cross Suspense/Thriller). Janet Evanovich topped two categories – Explore Eighteen (Mystery/Detective) and (Paperback/Mass Market). E.L. James had the top three spots for both Romance and Trade Paperback for the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

·        To make a bestseller list seems to only require three or four thousand unit sales in a given week. The lowest requirement to hit a list comes with audiobooks. The No. 1 book only sold 873 units in a week and No. 10 sold just 567 units. Graphic novels also racked up small numbers for the top spots. 548 units sold would earn you the No. 10 spot and just 1369 would bring you to the top.

·        At least a few authors who made the list are dead – especially for children’s picture books. Dr. Seuss had five of the 25 top spots, including No. 1 with Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Maurice Sendak had two spots and Eric Carle had No. 5.

·        The strongest genre appears to be romance. The top 10 books sold around 880,000 copes last week. Mystery looked to be the next biggest genre, but its top 10 collectively sold 110,000 copies.

·        Trade paperback bestsellers were outselling mass market paperback bestsellers last week. Hardcover fiction top 10 outsold – by a little – top 10 non-fiction hardcover books.

·        Few publishers had more than one hardcover nonfiction bestseller, as 21 of 25 titles were from different publishers. But suspense and romance had many repeat publishers. Vintage and Grand Central accounted for half of the top 10 romance titles; the same duo accounted for 60% of the top 10 suspense/thrillers.

·        Audiobooks’ top 10 were made up of just four publishers: Hachette Audio (4), Random House Audio (3), Penguin Audiobooks (2), and Macmillan Audio (1). But all 10 audiobooks totaled only 7,10 units sold.

In case you missed it, learn how to get a yes when you are promoting, marketing or selling a book:

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