For the majority of my life… I’m talking as far back as I can remember, I’ve always thought of a ranking on the New York Times Best Sellers list as a reflection of the quality of a book. After all, a book wouldn’t be able to make it on the best sellers list if people didn’t love it, right?
A few years back, I started to question the New York Times Best Sellers list because I was seeing books make this list that were really poorly written. I was seeing books make this list solely because… well because they were written by celebrities. I stopped believing that the New York Times Best Sellers list was a judgement of quality and just started believing that… so long as you were a celebrity, you’d make the list.
In retrospect, it was probably quite naive of me to ever believe every writer made that list based off the quality of their writing, story, content to start with. That might happen for a few, but, for the majority it seems the system is seemingly rigged from the get-go…
It wasn’t until last year that I learned of ‘Bulk Purchasing’.
See… DJT, infamous idiot son of the present President, ‘wrote’ a book. I use the term wrote loosely because I don’t believe that he wrote anything. I reckon he probably paid a few ghost writers so that he could slap his name on the front and add it to his resume.
Shortly after the release of this book, I saw a portion of an interview on CTV (a Canadian tv station) to which DJT was excited to claim that he made the New York Times Best Sellers list and thus he was a New York Times Best Selling Author.
‘This can’t be right’, I remember thinking. As much as I know the Trump family has a fan base still in the United States, it can’t be enough to make him the top of list as a New York Times Best Selling Author, it just can’t.
Am I wrong?
Turns out, I’m not wrong.
See the screenshot of the book from the New York Times Best Sellers list above… there’s a little dagger shown just above the ‘Buy’ button on the screenshot. That dagger is very important. That dagger means that a bulk purchase of the book was made.
The dagger is something that the NYT has had to start including on their Best Sellers list to denote bulk purchases because celebrities, rich folk and corporations started scamming the system by buying enough books in one go to land said book on the Best Sellers list. So every book that lands on the NYT Best Sellers with a dagger denoted on it means that the book isn’t necessarily there because of popularity, it’s more so there because of a bulk purchase. It’s essentially artificially inflating the book to ensure that it gets clout, is talked about more and gives the writer the ability to claim they’re a best selling author for the rest of their lives.
After doing some research, it turns out DJT’s book was purchased in bulk, by the RNC. Do we think dad had a hand in making sure that purchase happened? I know I do…
This makes me mad. It makes me mad because I finally have proof to my belief that people are artificially inflating the popularity of their books. It makes me mad because it means that writers, people who put out good, quality and interesting content who might otherwise have made the list are being bumped from the list because of these daggers popping up week after week. It makes me mad because it’s a reminder that this list can’t be treated as a true measure of the value of a book’s contents when people can scam the system to get themselves and their books on the list.
When I finally learned what this dagger meant, I started doing some research to find other books who have this dagger as well and I noticed a serious pattern with respect to this tactic. Here are some screenshots:
Anybody else find something in common with all of the books listed above, or is that just me?
Now, it’s worth noting that it’s not just books related to politics that this tactic is used. I want to make that abundantly clear. This happens across all categories – fiction, non-fiction, advice, childrens, etc… To show this, I’ve taken screenshots of this week’s list (from today January 11, 2020) to showcase more genres where this occurs.
‘THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A FUCK’
Everybody talked about how great this book was and when I read it, I was less than impressed. I guess I’m not really surprised to see this little dagger here. 160 weeks though, that has me questioning if it’s had bulk purchases made all along? I did go back the past five weeks and the past eight weeks have all been noted that it’s made the list due to bulk purchasing. WHO IS BUYING THIS BOOK WEEK AFTER WEEK? Is there a secret billionaire out there hoarding these in their basement?
This book. I haven’t read this book – mainly because my best friend told me that it’s stupid, she wasn’t the only person I’d heard that from. I went back five weeks on the NYT Best Sellers list and found this one was bumped off the list and got back onto the list thanks to bulk purchasing three times. Funny how that works…
Edit: Now that I’ve double checked, all of Rachel Hollis’ books have daggers next to them at various stages throughout the list.
Just the title of this book alone seems unappealing to me. The book, advocating for skipping meals and taking apple cider vinegar in its place to lose weight. It’s been out two weeks and has been on the best-sellers list for two weeks thanks in part to bulk purchasing.
Others to land on this list thanks to bulk purchasing? TV Anchors, Youtubers, Celebrities, Chefs, Financiers, Motivational Speakers, Religious oh… I can’t think of a name other than ‘Leaders’, Bloggers, Reality TV Stars… basically anyone in the public eye who needs their reputation boosted. Some mainstream authors seem to have daggers next to their books as well. Largely, from what I can see, it’s the more mainstream authors who are likely trying to stay on this list to keep up appearances.
To me this goes to show that anyone can be a New York Times Best Selling Author so long as they are rich, or have rich friends.