Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sales Figures

BookScan, a Nielsen service, tallies retail sales from chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders, from, and from other stores to provide a database that "captures about 70 percent of sales for a typical hardcover book." As such, it's seen as a more accurate predictor of books doing well than all those bestseller lists. That's all to the good, right? But: "In the hands of journalists and polemicists, BookScan data has becomes a blunt instrument to humiliate, minimize accomplishments, and express joy at the misfortune of other writers....You BookScan your enemies to take joy in their failure or to aggravate the agony you feel at their success."

You mean...the literary world isn't brimming over with the milk of human kindness? Goodness.


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