When I linked at the ID Facebook page to a note published here about a reader’s favourable reaction to Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt on the Cambrian explosion (most divisions of life forms emerged suddenly about 550 mya, and not gradually, as Darwin hoped), here was one response: See Phipps here:
I’ll explain how the Amazon categories are used. Right now the book is at #5,959 in Books. This is calculated across all sales and it is this number which is compared in the sub-categories rank.
If the publisher put that book into a category that needed better than a 1000 sales rank then it would lose out e.g. The God Delusion is #1,169 in Books so wherever TGD is at then you need better than #1169 right now to bump TGD from e.g. 9th in Philosophy. A 1st place in the philosophy needs a #160 sales rank right now. If the publishers put Darwin’s Doubt into philosophy it would be off the top 10 list and way down the bottom.
Publishers strategically choose sub-categories to make it appear popular but that does not mean that the book is actually popular to that audience. Someone with a scientific interest in paleontology would check reviews from a paleontologist’s perspective of the Meyer book and would not be moved to buy this.
Okay. Presumably, the publishers did that kind of stuff with all the Darwin deadtrees as well. Paleontology is big for them. And Darwin’s Doubt emerged on top numerous times.
As I said there then, if we are all even having this conversation about the entrails of the publishing business, the fact that Darwin’s Doubt is more widely read than Darwin’s sect would like it to be is pretty much what we need to know. I’m calling it the news event of 2013.
– O’Leary for News