Hey, publishers! Do you dream of seeing your books appear on Canada's most prestigious bestseller lists? Whether you're a seasoned publisher with hundreds of bestselling titles to your name, or a newbie publisher on the rise, there are some best practices you can heed to ensure your big sellers appear on the right list, with the right information.
But first, here's a brief refresher on how books appear on media bestseller lists like those published by The Globe & Mail and The Toronto Star:
How do books make it onto bestseller lists?
A book is eligible if it meets all these criteria:
- It is available in the Canadian print trade market
- It has been assigned a unique ISBN
- A publisher is submitting bibliographic information for the title through an ONIX feed
- Unit sales are being reported by retailers that participate in our national sales tracking service, BNC SalesData
Every week, BookNet compiles all this bibliographic and sales data to generate ranked lists of the top-selling titles, which we then send to newspapers like the Globe and Star so they can create their top 10 lists.
Some other things to note:
- Books appear on bestseller lists according to their ISBNs. So if there are two editions of a particular book (e.g., the original, hardcover edition and a paperback edition that came out a few months later), each would appear on the lists as a unique entity with its own ISBN.
- Ebooks are not currently tracked in SalesData, so they do not count towards these bestseller lists.
- Bestselling titles must be widely available in multiple stores across Canada.
So this is how your bestselling book's journey ends. But how does it begin? Well, it all starts with complete and accurate metadata so it can move smoothly through the supply chain and get on the right list. To that end, here are a few tips for ensuring your book's data is fit for the bestseller lists:
Tip #1: Choose the right subject
If you don't identify a primary subject (e.g., Fiction, Non-Fiction, Juvenile) in your title's ONIX feed, then it may get filtered off the lists altogether because there's no way to know, for example, that your Fiction title belongs on the Fiction list. (You can learn more about using BISAC subject codes here.)
You should also keep your subject as specific as possible. If a book is Fiction / Mystery & Detective, then categorize it under this full subject. This way, the title will be considered for both the Mystery and Fiction bestseller lists.
Tip #2: Provide all the data points that newspapers want
The book's title, subtitle, author(s), current list price, format, and publisher name are all important fields to include in your metadata because this is what gets printed in the papers. So make sure these fields are provided accurately, and keep them updated if any information changes down the line. (You can learn more about standards for metadata here.)
Tip #3: Wave your Canadian marker proudly
If your book's author is Canadian, make sure to identify them as such in your metadata. The newspapers use this data point to know which titles to include on their Canadian lists. (You can learn more about identifying Canadian authorship here.)
If you have any questions about your book's metadata and how it appears, please don't hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be happy to help!