A question raised by Esi Sogah, editorial assistant at Avon, last night on Twitter was whether Bestseller lists matter on the cover of books and which ones. Extended beyond that would be what bestseller lists are most useful in making purchasing decisions. I do look at bestseller lists at etailers like Amazon and Fictionwise and Samhain to help make purchasing decisions. I don’t believe that the label on the book has influenced me, but perhaps it has.
One thing about bestseller lists, particularly like the NY Times, is that they aren’t based on actual sales, but projections and calculations and other mysterious woo woo guarded tightly by these bestseller list owners. The lists can be deceptive. Take, for example, Susan Andersen’s recent release, Bending the Rules, which made the NYT list (No. 14) and PW list (peaked at 12). According to her July 29, 2009, newsletter, Harlequin is axing the series, refusing to publish the third in the trilogy and Andersen will be starting with a new stand alone.
I tend to believe that the Amazon, Fictionwise bestseller lists are based on actual units sold and thus more accurate. I could be totally wrong.