IU Poll: Buying Bestseller Status

If you’ve read the story about authors using a marketing firm to buy their way onto the New York Times bestseller list, we’d like to know your opinion. Is this just a clever marketing stratagem? Is it unethical? Should changes be made to prevent this statistical vulnerability from being exploited? Tell us what you think:

Should a marketing firm be able to get its clients on the NYT bestseller list in the manner described in the article?

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5 thoughts on “IU Poll: Buying Bestseller Status”

  1. Is it unethical? Yes. Do people do unethical things? Yes, and they will for all time. Should they change the system? Well, whatever they change it to, there will still be people who figure out how to game the new system, but they may make it harder for the little guy to be the gamers. The New York Times bestseller list has always been a system that publishing folks have gamed. It just wasn’t as visible and the gamers were bigger in the old days.

    I came to participate in the poll, but I don’t answer “should” questions. “Shoulds” always depend on your world-view, and every community and microworld has its own most popular world-view.

  2. The practice has become so abused as to make ‘best-selling’ almost worthless as an advertising slogan (apparently, having a presence high up on the amazon list still works). There’s one indy author of nonfiction whose book cover brags that it is a “No. 1 Rated” book on Amazon.

  3. It’s unethical, not to mention damaging to authors who have genuinely earned bestseller status. If it’s generally known that it’s being bought, who is going to take NY Times Bestseller seriously? Most readers aren’t members of the literary community. Once they hear about it, everybody will get thrown in the same trash heap.

  4. The damage appears to be done, and the public will add the literary and publishing industry to their long, cynical list of immoral, unethical businesses. Authors who make it on the list will feel a little embarrassed and think it necessary to disavow any wrong doing to get there.

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