[ART, SPORT, ENTERTAINMENT] How to become a bestseller?
A group of American scientists led by the famous physicist Albert-László Barabási tried to find out, with
the help of big data tools, what it takes for a book to end up on the prestigious New York Times
bestseller list and stay there as long as possible. They analysed nearly 4,500 bestsellers from this list and
developed a model that, based on data related to the sales from the first weeks of the book’s
publication, predicts with high accuracy what its further sales will be over time. Barabási and colleagues
found that most of the books on this list followed a similar sales pattern.
The vast majority of copies were sold within the first few weeks of the book’s release, and after ten
weeks, sales dropped dramatically.
Authors and publishers can use this model to predict future book sales, as long as they have weekly
sales data collected several months after their publication. Barabási’s team first developed this formula
in earlier research, where based on data on the number of citations taken from a scientific work, they
managed to predict its academic success with great precision, and later realized that the same formula
can be applied to book sales.