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New York Times bestseller list

From Academic Kids

The New York Times bestseller list is a weekly chart in The New York Times newspaper that keeps track of the "best-selling" books of the week. It appears in the Sunday New York Times in the "Book Review Section".

Unlike some lists of "best sellers", The New York Times list is not based upon actual sales figures, but instead upon surveys of a selected pool of booksellers.

The list is divided into a Fiction and a Non-Fiction section, each containing 15 titles. The New York Times has created the image, for some readers, that a successful book is only seen as being truly "successful" in the eyes of the public if it makes an appearance on this list. Other readers consider a bestseller to be a lower form of literature, because it must "pander" to the lowest common denominator. The New York Times maintains that its bestseller list is merely a list, compiled from sales figures of literally "bestselling" books.

There have been accusations of some books being marketed in a manner that deliberately places them on the bestseller list, so as to boost exposure of the book to a wide audience of potential buyers. Particularly egregious examples include Battlefield Earth and Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard.

Similarly, some books are flagged with an obelus (†) indicating that a significant number of bulk orders had been received by retail bookstores. Since it is normally more economical to place bulk orders for classroom or resale use through wholesalers or publishers, this might indicate that the purchases were made to increase a book's placement in the bestseller list.

In 2001, a separate section of the bestseller list was created to track the sale of children's books. Critics of The New York Times claim that the children's book list was created especially so that the Harry Potter book series, which dominated the list for over two years, could be moved to a separate section and other titles allowed to appear on the list.

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