Have $200K? Buy Your Way Onto the Bestseller List
March 13, 2014
Should authors be able to pay their way onto best-seller lists? A company named ResultSource Inc. (RSI) would likely answer yes. According to a report obtained by Warren Cole Smith of World magazine, the Mars Hill Church paid RSI approximately $210,000 to secure a place for the book Real Marriage on The New York Times best-seller list. Smith’s article revealed that the contract, signed by Real Marriage author Mark Driscoll, stated RSI would “conduct a bestseller campaign for [Real Marriage] on the week of January 2, 2012. The bestseller campaign is intended to place Real Marriage on the Times bestseller list for the Advice how-to list.” While the book did make it onto the list, it was only there for one week.
How could RSI possibly promise a spot on the Times bestseller list? Aggressive marketing, inside connections, and powerful lobbying are all tactics that others have used to get books sold. But RSI bypasses those labor-intensive, time-consuming, and costly methods by going straight to the market and buying copies of the book en mass. Per the contract, “RSI [was to purchase] at least 11,000 total orders in one week.” Smith’s article also stated that RSI expected the author to come up with a minimum of 6,000 geographically diverse names and addresses for individual orders and at least ninety names for bulk orders. These measures helped avoid networks created by companies like BookScan to protect bestseller list integrity. RSI also took the extra measure of using over 1,000 different payment types to circumvent the standards for how bestseller lists are generated honestly. And thus, the company that describes itself as “a boutique marketing firm that works with today’s thought leaders to build bestsellers,” seems to do exactly that.