We can all agree that promoting books is a difficult and often thankless job complicated by the public’s rapid move away from paper and toward the digital model (which is less profitable but more efficient and far more agreeable to spouses who really don’t care for the dust and clutter of a big bookshelf).
For authors and publishers alike, the very ability to claim “bestseller” status can significantly increase sales in addition to related speaking and consulting fees (especially relevant if you write about business). Unfortunately, it seems that more authors are now responding to the PR and financial challenges of writing for a living by simply buying their way onto bestseller lists.
Here’s how it works: The Wall Street Journal outs a marketing firm called ResultSource which buys thousands of copies of books in bulk before their publication dates to create a false “sales bounce” and then returns them to the seller. (All for a significant fee, of course.)
Can you guess how we feel about this practice?