"Remarkably Lopsided": NYT Bestseller Bias Laid Bare

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - 01:20 AM

After a March tweet by Elon Musk decrying the New York Times bestseller list as "pure propaganda" after the outlet was forced to admit in court that it's not a ranked list, The Economist decided to see if there was any merit to longstanding claims of bias against conservative authors.

They found, of course, that there is.

The Economist compiled Bookscan data over a 12-year period and built a statistical model to predict the likelihood of books appearing in the NYT's weekly "hardcover non-fiction" and "advice, how-to, and miscellaneous" rankings. The model considered books from publishers that identify as politically right of center.

The analysis estimated that books by conservative publishers were 7% points less likely to make it onto the NYT weekly bestseller lists compared to books by other publishers with similar sales figures.

What's more, the bias was more pronounced among titles that sold fewer than 5,000 copies per week. These books from conservative imprints had a significantly lower chance of making the NYT list compared to similarly selling books from other publishers. Conservative books that did make the NYT bestsellers were ranked on average 2.3 notches lower than those from other presses, despite having similar sales numbers. The effect was even more significant for books at the bottom of the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, which placed an average of five spots lower on the NYT list.

The report also notes a specific case involving Alex Jones. Despite Jones' ranking as the second-place bestselling author in America in 2022 according to Bookscan, his book was never included in the NYT bestseller list.