The author Mark Dawson has just lost his spot on the Sunday Times bestseller chart for his thriller The Cleaner after revealing that he bought 400 copies of his own book in an attempt to get a better position.
The book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan began investigating the purchases after the author revealed on his podcast that he had spent £3,600 on buying 400 hardback copies of The Cleaner. According to Dawson he did this once he discovered he was in 13th place on Nuelsen’s midweek chart. In Dawsons defence he claimed these books were purchased to sell to overseas readers who weren’t able to get copies themselves.
These purchases pushed the novel up to eighth place in the Sunday Times hardback fiction list. His actions have been criticised by other authors as a means of ‘gaming’ the system.
Nielsen has now said that those sales “did not meet its criteria,” so it will now recalculate its charts. The Sunday Times will also issue a correction.
With current circumstances calling for alternative ways to achieve sales we are having to monitor and judge many cases on an individual basis and we apologise that on this occasion we misunderstood the intentions of this sales transaction,” Nielsen said.
The books publisher, Welbeck, said it respected Nielsen’s decision but that Dawsons’s “actions were purely in response to requests for copies from his fans around the world”.
“The fulfilment of these orders to his fans has been misconstrued and the morality of this action called into question,” said the publisher. “Copies of The Cleaner are now being dispatched by Mark’s team to readers in the US, Australia and throughout Europe.”
On Twitter, Dawson wrote: “If I was intent on ‘gaming the system’ I would have bought 10k copies, sat on them forever and been number one. (I wouldn’t have discussed it on a popular podcast, either.)”