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AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » Thumper's Corner - Archive 2004 » Essence best seller list « Previous Next »

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Anonymous

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Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Essence best seller list. Merit or Meritless.
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Troy

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Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 06:22 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

To answer your question specifically Iíd need to know how you intend to use Essence's list.

In general however, in order to judge the relative merits, of Essences Bestsellerís list types of list you have to understand how it is compiled

In the case of Essence's list (http://www.essence.com/essence/books) I'm not sure what they do. I should stop here, but Iíll speculate anyway: Essence says; "The ESSENCE Best-sellers list is based on reports of retail sales. Respondents are African-American bookstores." They list 21 different stores, but if you look at the list of reporting stores, almost 40% are from NY and Texas (see below) and none are on the west coast.

TX 5
NY 3
MD 2
FL 2
TN 1
ONT 1 (Canada)
NJ 1
MI 1
MA 1
GA 1
DC 1
AL 1
AK 1

Essence really needs to get some input from California, seems odd Eso Won is not on the list, but some obscure store in NY that no one has ever heard of before.

Are the stores reporting actual sales figures? That would be quite surprising. Shoot, I'm sure some of these smaller stores can't tell you precisely which books they have sold during an given period. If the stores are not reporting actually figures Ė what are they reporting? Is the reported information, from all stores, weighted evenly? I'm sure Hue-man in NY sells far more books than Medu in Atlanta. Don't get me wrong, I like Medu; but Medu's entire store would have trouble filling Hue-man's cafe.

One big advantage of Essence's list is that you'll see self-published books on it. However the self-published authors represented would be heavy biased toward the east coast (over 70% of the reporting stores are on the east coast).

What happens when and author goes on tours and targets the Essence reporting stores and creates a spike in sales. Does anyone account for this spike?

I wonder if Cushcity and the Black Library are reporting on-line sales as well? That would be useful. If not, Essence really should include on-line sales.

If you are looking a list of the best-selling Black, in terms of sheer sales, or which books Black readers are buying most frequently then Essence list would not be exactly merit less it just would not be accurate.

That is not to say it is woitout merit. If you are looking for list, which is subject to some fudging, that gives you an indication of what is popular in some black book stores, then the list can be useful.

If you are an author, being able to say you are an "Essence Best-selling Author" is a good thing to be able to put on your book jacket.

If you are a reader looking for a good book to read; you be better served cruising a discussion board like Thumperís Corner or going into Sibanye (Baltimore, Md.), and having Robin hand sell you a good book t read.

For comparison purposes AALBC.comís list (http://books.aalbc.com/bestsellers.htm) is complied simply by adding up sales of books that we sell directly (very few nowadays), and through B&N and Amazon. I use this list to identify popular books that I may not have been aware of, to promote more (in the interest of spurring sales).


This link http://aalbc.com/cgi/aalbcamazonproductsfeed.cgi?input_string=keywords:+african+ american&input_mode=books&input_search_type=PowerSearch will show you the most popular African-American" titles at any given instant in time on Amazon's site.
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Anonymous

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Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 08:08 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I thought there was a reporting store in Chicago....
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Troy

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Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 08:44 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I mean to include this in my last post, from Essence's site.

Reporting Stores:
Alke-bulan Books (Antioch, Tenn.),
Brownstone Books (Brooklyn, N.Y.),
Black Classics (Mobile, Ala.),
Black Images Book Bazaar (Dallas),
theblacklibrary.com (Boston),
Cushcity.com (Houston, Texas),
Heritage Bookstore and More (Fort Meyers, Fla.),
Howard University Bookstore (Washington, D.C.),
Hue-man Bookstore (New York),
Jokaeís African-American Bookstore (Dallas),
Karibu Books (Hyattsville, Md),
Knowledge Bookstore (Brampton, Ont.),
Medu Bookstore (Atlanta),
Melodrama Books (Far Rockaway, NY),
Nu World of Books (Beaumont, Texas),
OurStory Books & Gifts (Plainfield, N.J.),
Pyramid Books (Little Rock, Ark.),
Pyramid Books (Boynton Beach, Fla),
Under One Roof (Kileen, Texas),
Sibanye (Baltimore, Md.),
Truth Bookstore (Detroit)
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Bayou Lights

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Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 09:39 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Marcus Books in Oakland and San Francisco, California should definitely be on the list for California.

The Essence bestseller list has been suspect to me for a very long time. The lists have rarely reflected what was being talked about in my book groups, on this board, or on the "hard to get list at the library". That's not scientific analyzing on my part but that list does not reflect a wide range of stores.

Far Rockaway but not Los Angeles or San Francisco? Hmmm!

Bayou

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