How do Best Sellers lists actually Work? Is it all Really Worth it?

4As a writer you want your book to be recognized as one of the best, if not the best. And one of the best ways to do so is by having your book on a Best Sellers List. Indeed, if your book is on a best sellers list your book will gain the prestige it needs to be one of the best. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. We first have to answer one question. How do best sellers list actually work?

What is a best sellers list?  A best sellers list is a list of books that have sold a great number of books and are thus qualified to be on a best sellers list. The qualifications for being on a best sellers list differs because the list are created by different publications and each has its own standards. Such lists may also be published by newspapers, magazines, or book store chains. Foremost amongst these lists is the New York Times Bestseller which is considered as the holy grail of best sellers list. This is because the data for the list is taken directly from bookstores and from the Neilson Book scans. And although the statistics for the best sellers list is not perfect, it is technically the most efficient and trustworthy out there. Which is why if you want to have your book given a great amount of attention, it is best that you strive to have your book in the New York Times Bestsellers list.

But now back to the main question, how do these best sellers lists actually work? As it was stated earlier one of the most common ways that best sellers list are created is through a tabulation of the number of books sold at a certain amount of time and each publication has a different form of data gathering. The books are all divided into fiction and fan-fiction. And some list are further divided into subcategories. They can also be ranked differently for Hardcover and Softcover categories.

We also have to take into account that there are a lot of different lists that are supported by a publication. Each of these list have their own way of ranking bestsellers and has their own setbacks when it comes to judging which books are the most popular. Take for example the way The New York Times Bestsellers list gets the data for their list. They tabulate their info through data gathered from bookstores. They are considerably more traditional when it comes to sources because they get their data from selected book stores. This kind of tabulation of course is not the most accurate because the bookstores are selected and thus there is no guarantee that your books are also popular in the bookstores that were not selected. There is also the example of the Amazon top 100 which is usually calculated on an hourly basis and bases their list on the number of books sold through their site and is tabulated using their own data and qualifications. All in all if you look at how the best sellers list are ranked there is really no definite way to know which best sellers list is truly accurate.

Some authors would try various book marketing techniques and buy marketing services from either traditional or self-publishing companies to get an edge on the best sellers list.  But is it really worth all the time and effort you are investing into it? Will it really help you as a writer? The answer is yes, getting into a book list is a really big deal. Although there are many detractors saying book sellers are no longer relevant in this day and age, there is always something special about a book being part of the best sellers list. It shows that your book is popular and a testament to your skills as a writer. All in all having your book in a best seller list is always a special honor and should be taken advantage of.