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Breaking News: Mega-Publishers Top eBook Best-Seller List

There is an unintentionally funny post over at DBW that I want you to read. Jeremy Greenfield has compiled DBW's ebook best-seller lists for the first quarter of 2013, and much to his amazement the top 3 names on the list are all mega-publishing conglomerates:

It’s a great feat for a publisher to have even one book make a best-seller list. Below is a list of the publishers who have made the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller List in the first quarter of 2013 — and how many times they’ve each made the list.

The big story this year is Hachette. Driven by the success of series like Beautiful Creatures, some 27% of all books on the list so far this year have been titles from Hachette.

Random House and Penguin are not far behind with 87 titles and 42 titles, respectively. Combined, Penguin Random House has published roughly 40% of all ebook best-sellers this year.

I couldn't help but giggle when I read that first sentence. It is so untrue that I can't help but wonder whether it was meant as a joke.

"a great feat" Seriously?

I would be more surprised if the major US publishers hadn't been at the top of the list.  Each of the conglomerates publishes far more titles than the average indie press and they have the marketing funds to promote hot titles. I expected them to show up on the best-seller lists, so really the only surprise today is that the major publishers took only 5 of the top 7 slots, with self-published titles and Scholastic coming in 4th and 7th, respectively.

That could be argued a sign that being big doesn't necessary equate with being successful, though I would not read too much into it.Best-seller lists don't mean much, and a company can be quite profitable without having very many best-sellers.

I generally don't pay much attention to best-seller lists, and that goes double for meta-lists like the one posted yesterday. Far too much info was removed in the process of turning the data into a list of names, leaving this list with little more value than a Top 10 List on The Tonight Show.

In any case, it's been shown in the past that these types of lists are easy to manipulate. That renders the group suspect as a whole, and this list in particular is not usable because it is based on bad data. DBW pulls their info from the official best-seller lists for the leading US ebookstores. Given that Amazon has been shown to manipulate their sales rankings for the most petty reason the info Amazon actually provides cannot be trusted.

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