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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Monday, October 22, 2007 10:41 am
Coming Soon: The Pretty-Good-Seller List
Posted by: Keir Graff

Clark Hoyt, the New York Times‘ public editor, offers an interesting look at how his paper’s best-seller lists are compiled (“Books for the Ages, if Not for the Best-Seller List“). Even if you feel that there is probably too much attention paid to best-seller lists and starred reviews (as I do), it’s worth reading the article to understand more about this important cultural force.

But the short version is that the best-seller lists aren’t simply comprised of the books that have the best sales. (For that, you’ll need to turn to BookScan.) At the Times, editorial prerogative is exercised, even though the books editor doesn’t edit the best-seller list.

Confused yet? Read the article. 

My favorite part is merely an aside:

Not making the list, or falling off – some books last only a week – can be devastating. "If you’re not on the list and you’re a publisher, you get a very anguished call from your author," Kirshbaum said. "Why aren’t I on the list?"

Because you am’nt working hard enough on yours grammar.


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