Writers go undercover to trick publishers

Anonymous Patron writes The Boston Globe: In yesterday’s book world, no one except publisher and author — and sometimes not even author — knew how many copies of a book were sold. Sales figures were proprietary. Books were sold by thousands of small stores, which would order a dozen copies or fewer. Today bookselling is dominated by a handful of large outlets, notably Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com, and Books-a-Million, that make huge orders and keep detailed computer records. Also today there is Nielsen Bookscan, a national book-sales rating service by the company that tracks television viewership.”