Buying your way onto the Best Seller List

Reblogged from WSJ
By Jeffery A. Trachtenberg

Last August, a book titled “Leapfrogging” hit The Wall Street Journal’s list of best-selling business titles upon its debut. The following week, sales of the book, written by first-time author Soren Kaplan, plunged 99% and it fell off the list.

Something similar happened when the hardcover edition of “Networking is Dead,” was published in mid-December. A week after selling enough copies to make it onto the Journal’s business best-seller list, more hardcover copies of the book were returned than sold, says book-sales tracker Nielsen BookScan.

It isn’t uncommon for a business book to land on best-seller lists only to quickly drop off. But even a brief appearance adds permanent luster to an author’s reputation, greasing the skids for speaking and consulting engagements.

Mr. Kaplan says the best-seller status of “Leapfrogging” has “become part of my position as a speaker and consultant.”

But the short moment of glory doesn’t always occur by luck alone. In the cases mentioned above, the authors hired a marketing firm that purchased books ahead of publication date, creating a spike in sales that landed titles on the lists. The marketing firm, San Diego-based ResultSource, charges thousands of dollars for its services in addition to the cost of the books, according to authors interviewed.

As ResultSource’s website points out, hitting best-seller lists can mean fame, and potentially lucrative consulting assignments.

“Publishing a book builds credibility, but having a Bestseller initiates incredible growth—exponentially increasing the demand for your thought leadership, skyrocketing your speaking itinerary and value,” ResultSource says.

Read the rest of this essay here.

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