Many have commented on the current brouhaha between Amazon and the Big Five publishers led by Hatchette. Regardless of who wins – and it will almost surely be Amazon – one future battle that remains to be fought is who determines the status of a bestseller. Consider the difference between the current Publishers Weekly top 10 bestsellers in science fiction, and the Amazon Kindle ranks for the same books.
Amazon’s metric has its shortcomings; it is susceptible to short-term volume buying. But so are the Bookscan-based numbers, which are intrinsically less transparent, and therefore trustworthy, than the Amazon ranks which can be tracked in real time.