Yesterday, Amazon made Nielsen Bookscan information from just the last four weeks of sales available to authors. (Bookscan tracks most booksellers, but not WalMart/Sam's Club, museum stores, etc.—the general disclaimer is they get about 75% of sales.) And, for the most part, it's killing people! If you had a book that just came out, the tool is maybe useful: you can see where it's selling, and then I guess you… could call that bookstore in Denver? And say "Hey thanks for hand-selling those five copies of my book"? For the vast majority of authors, whose books have been out for six months or three years, the live recent data is just upsetting. (Because people don't buy a lot of books!) And it's freaking out publishers, too—who we hear have scheduled emergency meetings to Discuss This Event and Then Do What Exactly, I Mean, It's Book Publishing, Let's Continue This Discussion Over Lunch and Then Maybe Some Drinks, Hmm, I Guess Maybe Authors Might Have Questions About Their Royalty Statements Down the Road, Oh Boy.
via The Awl by Choire Sicha on 12/10/10