The Myth of the Best Selling Book

Ryan Eidson  —  June 2, 2014

What does a “best selling book” really mean these days? Perfectly timed affiliate marketing and joint ventures can easily produce an Amazon “bestseller” because Amazon updates its book rankings every hour. I’ve heard of authors hiring companies to strategically purchase their new books, which in effect manipulates the New York Times bestseller list.

The Myth of the Best Selling Book

Image from flickr user: Alex de Carvalho | cc


Bestseller does not automatically mean good. I’ve read many great books that never won literary awards or reached mass-market penetration.

You’ve read great content, too, that was not written by a household name. (Especially non-business books.)

When was the last time you picked up a book because it sold well? Yes, we all do this at times. And yes, we do have a general respect for business authors who do hit the New York Times or Wall Street Journal best selling book lists.

We often get books because we’re looking to answer questions about a specific topic, or because a friend (or trusted online resource) recommended the book to us.

The Myth of the Best Selling Book

Do you really want (or need) wide book distribution to the general population? Most likely, you have niche content. Saturate that niche.

Get your book to do what you need it to do: generate high-quality leads for your business. It’s better for you to give away 300 copies of your book, sell 150, and generate 40 great prospects than for your book to appear on some arbitrary list and receive a flood of unqualified leads!

It’s not wrong to have a best selling book. However, some people pursue the title of “best selling author” just for the sake of the title.

Go for great content first. You can have the best launch plan for your book, but if your book itself doesn’t hold up, it won’t be a “best seller” for long.

Become a category leader in your niche, not a best selling book for the general public.

Ryan Eidson


I have the unique ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. I am the author of A Couple with Common Cents and live in rural Missouri.