Babes Against Bullshit

Is The New York Times Faking Their Bestseller List Numbers?

New York Times

Is the New York Times botching its bestsellers list? A news piece has appeared in the Daily Mail based on comments made by bestselling author James Patterson. For those who mightn’t be aware, James Patterson has written over two hundred books on almost every topic imaginable. He’s not just written fiction, but he’s done nonfiction too. He even wrote a book with Dolly Parton.

Patterson has been on the New York Times bestseller list countless times, so he knows when something is off. The Daily Mail posted screenshots of his tweets, which contain examples.

New York Times
[Credit: Daily Mail]

As seen in the screenshot above, Patterson states that Mike Pompeo’s book has sold more copies than six other books on the New York Times Bestsellers list. He also brings up Nora Roberts’s latest book, which she wrote under her pen name, J.D. Robb, didn’t place on the fiction list, despite having more copies sold than most listed books.

So, what gives?

Mister Patterson, we want to know that too.

Is the New York Times playing favourites? Are they being paid big bucks to push certain books? According to James, when his tweets went unanswered, he wrote to the New York Times to ask, and according to the response he got, they claimed they don’t go off “raw” sales of their titles. Moreover, he said they didn’t even run the letter he sent the editor.

We’re as confused as Jeff Goldblum in the above gif.

Did Prince Harry’s Book Perform Well?

This takes us back to Prince Harry’s memoir Spare. We looked at the nonfiction list about five weeks ago and found that Harry’s book was number one.

Now, it’s sitting at third.

While it has been five weeks since that result, there’s something majorly iffy here, and James Patterson is calling it out. We went to a bookstore the other week and casually asked if it was normal to inflate numbers. According to the person we spoke to, it is very typical. However, it felt like they were holding something back.

Harry’s book has been in the top five for almost three months despite others reporting otherwise. For example, Brittany of the Royal News Network said a while ago that she walked into Marshall’s one day and found they had a ton of copies. For those who mightn’t know what Marshall’s is, a discount retailer in the United States gets items that a full-price retailer can’t sell. Here in Australia, we have a similar thing with some charity shops; they get items that weren’t sold during sales.

What the Daily Mail shouldn’t have done is bring up that James Patterson is a left-leaning political independent. This isn’t a political issue. Instead, he’s calling out something that doesn’t look right. He even addressed this in his letter to the New York Times.

New York Times

Another Bout Of Confusion By The New York Times Response

The New York Times responded to the Daily Mail’s request for comment. They said they take Patterson’s inquiry very seriously and are always looking to amend their “criteria” for their bestsellers list.

Cue and confusion again.

Right on, Obi-Wan, right on. We thought that to have a “best seller,” it had to sell well. After all, that is why is it called “a bestseller” list, right?

Some might question why James Patterson even complains about this when he’s a bestselling author. However, he is raising awareness of this issue with the large fanbase he does. As we mentioned, it is not a political issue; he just pointed out a problem he has seen. Furthermore, he might’ve been on the list 4000 times, but he knows when something needs to be called out, and he did that.

In conclusion, James did the right thing. A bestseller list should have “bestsellers” with no “criteria”.

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About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She prides herself as a truth seeker and will do (almost) anything for coffee or Coke No Sugar. Oh! And food!

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