The Wall Street Journal recently learned that authors can buy their way onto bestseller lists. Sometimes the books' sales plunge as much as 99% the week after they hit the lists, but every once in a while, the sales goose transforms into lasting success for the author.
...the authors hired a marketing firm that purchased books ahead of publication date, creating a spike in sales that landed titles on the lists. The marketing firm, San Diego-based ResultSource, charges thousands of dollars for its services in addition to the cost of the books, according to authors interviewed.
As ResultSource's website points out, hitting best-seller lists can mean fame, and potentially lucrative consulting assignments.
This isn't anything new, really. Conservative books often wind up on the bestseller lists because think-tanks, campaigns, and other political organizations buy the books in bulk and give them away to people who attend events. (I am a "proud" owner of a copy of No Apology simply because I attended the Republican National Convention last year.) If people want to be outraged by ResultSource, they should look into the way political groups have been tipping the scales for decades now.