Wednesday News: Bestseller lists gamed; Digital growth flat; Modern marriages

Wednesday News: Bestseller lists gamed; Digital growth flat; Modern marriages

Update: Amazon warns Apple users to NOT update the Amazon App. It is deleting books and resetting entire libraries.

leslie ben parks rec

We are always examining romance from all angles but romance isn’t really more regressive in books than it is in other forms of media or even social acceptance. I don’t think it really struck home how true this is until I read this super interesting piece on Think Progress that examines the difference between the romances of Leslie from Parks & Recreation and Liz Lemon from 30 Rock.

“Is it any wonder, then, that for her vows, Leslie told Ben “The things that you have done for me to help me, support me, surprise me, to make me happy, go above and beyond what any person deserves. You’re all I need. I love you and I like you.” There’s very little in popular culture that would have told Leslie, or that tells any woman, that she’ll find a partner who isn’t just happy to be supportive when it’s a fit, but who, when his interests and hers are in conflict, will prioritize hers, and choose and work to support them again and again. And there’s something remarkable about Ben’s declaration that “In my time working for the state government, my job sent me to 46 cities in 11 years. I lived in villages with eight people, rural communities, farming towns, I was sent to every corner of Indiana. And then I came here, and I realized this whole time I was wandering around everywhere looking for you.” Ben didn’t just find Leslie. In looking for the recovery of his own reputation, Ben found Leslie’s career instead, and made it his cause—the man’s come so far that he’s even capable of being touched by what appears to be the mysterious resurrection of Lil’ Sebastian. “

In my reading, the closest thing I’ve come to what happens between Ben and Leslie occurs in C.J. Ellison’s Vanilla on Top.  While Tony doesn’t make quite the same sacrifices as Ben, he does say something that is pretty rare for a romance hero “He gives my hand a strong squeeze. “I’ve had enough of the corporate run around. It didn’t make me happy. You make me happy. I want to support you in your high stress dream job while I do something a little less tense for a while.”ThinkProgress

One publisher, John Wiley & Sons, encourages authors to use ResultSource. Soren Kaplan, one of the authors identified in the WSJ as buying his way on to the bestseller list, blogged publicly about it. 

I played the bestseller game using unwritten rules. And as I reflect upon what I experienced and learned, it’s clear to me that anyone with enough money can potentially buy his or her way onto a bestseller list. Although most authors attempt to pre-sell books to their existing networks, theoretically, as long as one has enough money to purchase 3000 of their own books while using the tactics of a bestseller campaign to do so, they are basically guaranteed bestseller status. When I have told this same story to friends, family, and my close colleagues, most end up with their jaws on the floor.

For the record, the WSJ articles suggests you need to move about 11,000 copies to make it onto the NYT list. I wrote about the bestseller lists here if you are interested in learning more how they work.