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    James Patterson has questions about the provenance of the NYT bestseller list.

    Janet Manley

    April 3, 2023, 9:46am

    Bestseller juggernaut James Patterson has sold over 425 million copies of his books, per Fox Business, but his latest, Walk the Blue Line: No right, no left―just cops telling their true stories to James Patterson, has broken with tradition. The title, he says, is conspicuously absent from the New York Times bestseller list.

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    In an open letter to the Times (Patterson originally submitted his queries as a letter to the editor, but the Times did not publish it), he noted that Walk the Blue Line outsold all but a few of the titles on the current bestseller list per Bookscan data, but was left off the list.

    The bestseller list is “cooked!” he suggested, noting the small print around how exactly the bestseller list is compiled: it reflects “sales in tens of thousands of stores” but is weighted “to represent and accurately reflect all outlets … nationwide.”

    Patterson pointed out that there are not tens of thousands of bookstores nationally (though that would be nice), so other venues (gas stations? Urban Outfitters?) must be included, and that the “statistical weighting” is fancy code for putting a thumb on the scale. The Times has not yet responded.

    Not the first time the bestseller list has courted drama: In 2017, Handbook for Mortals, a YA book by newbie author Lani Sarem that “no one had heard of” bought its place onto the list. After an outcry, the Times removed the title.

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