Amazon “Reimagines” Best Seller Lists

Amazon announced today that it has launched a “reimagined weekly bestseller list,” which they claim, unlike any of the many lists already available, is “A Bestseller List for What People are Really Reading and Buying.” They don’t point out that it is also unique in that it tracks only the books that people buy through Amazon.

There are two Amazon Charts, each divided between fiction and nonfiction. “Most Sold” tracks the top 20 books “sold and pre-ordered through Amazon.com, Audible.com and Amazon Books stores and books borrowed from Amazon’s subscription programs such as Kindle Unlimited, Audible.com, and Prime Reading.” A separate list, “Most Read,” claims to reveal which titles people actually read by tracking the “average number of daily Kindle readers and daily Audible listeners each week.” In Big Brother fashion, Amazon can also track Kindle titles according “to how quickly customers read a book from cover to cover,” noting which are literally “unputdownable.”

The goal, they say, is to help customers “discover their next great read,” but a look at the actual lists reveals that they offer precious little “discovery.” The majority of the 20 titles on each list are already fixtures on other best seller lists. The rest are published by Amazon’s own imprints (e.g., Lake Union Publishing, Thomas & Mercer, Montlake Romance) or are digital editions available on Kindle (e.g., four titles in the Harry Potter series published by Pottermore). And since Kindle sales and readership are included, the lists can be influenced by special promotions, such as those from Amazon itself and from BookBub.

More useful, as an early indicator of titles grabbing public interest, is the Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list, updated hourly.

One Response to “Amazon “Reimagines” Best Seller Lists”

  1. Peter Says:

    rip @nytimesbooks

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