Is It Necessary for Christian Authors to Buy Their Way Onto the NYT Bestseller List?


Today, author Eric Metaxas’s Twitter page is full of congratulations about his book, Miracles, hitting the New York Times bestseller list at #12. Metaxas is no stranger to the list; his biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer, hit number one and was released to critical acclaim.

But earlier this week, an article in Christianity Today quoted Metaxas giving what sounds like his approval of a controversial marketing tactic: buying your way onto the NYT bestseller list. The article is available to subscribers only, but watchdog blogger Warren Throckmorton posted a snippet of Metaxas’s comments:

“Anyone thinking there is something pure about that list does not understand the system and how it works,” [Metaxas] said. “I would even argue that trying to get on that list is a combination of a realistic sense of the market and good stewardship. When you understand … the Times list is a bit of a game … you realize being on that list has less to do with the actual merit of a book than with other, far less important factors.”

I’m not sure what those “other, far less important factors” are, but more and more Christian authors have admitted to having benefitted from the work of Result Source, the company who does the buying. (If their website is any indication, their business is shady at best. It consists only of a “contact us” link.) According to Forbes, the company runs their “bestsellers campaign” by requiring “authors to make bulk purchases of their own books, then breaks those orders up into small increments to make them look like organic retail sales.”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Laura Turner

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