Tuesday, October 18, 2022

So a Bestseller List is a List of the Books That Have Sold the Most, Right? Not So Fast...

Over at Public Books they're running a series called ‘Hacking the Culture Industries’. In this article, What Counts as a Bestseller?, Jordan Pruett uses data to break down how the New York Times Bestseller lists are not as straightforward as they might sound.

screen shot of the "What Counts as a Bestseller" article at Public Books, the photo a jumble of books

As Jordan puts it, 

“there are all sorts of weird historical factors and counting choices that affect whether a book might make the cut. Given the influence of the Times list, it’s worth examining the effects of the choices made when assembling it, and what they can tell us about the kinds of information about books we consider valuable.” —Jordan Pruett

It's fascinating to read, and even more to consider how these lists (and by extension, most 'bestseller' lists) may skew to a very specific kind of book sold in a very specific way... and how that can help raise up or hold back certain titles and creators.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

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