James Patterson: Best-Seller List in Times Is 'Cooked'

Prolific author says the data is 'cooked' after his nonfiction work fails to make the cut
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2023 3:56 PM CDT
James Patterson Has a Beef With Times Best-Seller List
Author James Patterson appears at an event in New York in 2018.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Even though James Patterson is a world record holder for repeatedly hitting the top of the New York Times bestseller list, one of his recent nonfiction books didn't receive much love—and he's crying foul. Patterson tweeted an open letter to the paper, stating that the Times' method of statistically weighing sales to place books in their list positions lacked "statistical rigor" and results in "cooked" data. In an appearance on Fox News, Patterson discussed how his nonfiction book Walk the Blue Line: No Right, No LeftJust cops telling their true stories to James Patterson didn't chart as a bestseller, even though, according to Bookscan data, it sold more copies than at least seven other books on the list.

Fox's Outkick queried the Times, asking if raw sales numbers weren't the sole factor in what determined a book's position on the bestseller list, what other data do they use? The paper responded that its lists are rooted in analyzing sales numbers from "tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores of all sizes, and numerous online book-selling vendors to best represent what is selling across the United States." Patterson has had other publishing and bookselling beefs in the last couple of years as well, stepping into hot water in June 2022 when he told the UK's Sunday Times that older white males were being discriminated against in the publishing industry. He eventually walked that back, saying in a tweet that he does "not believe that racism is practiced against white writers." (More James Patterson stories.)

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