I don't know if the following two "stories" are apropos, but reading the above just made me think of them. May make you think just a bit differently about "lists." First - I'm going back almost half a century. My first book on memory training (HOW TO DEVELOP A SUPER-POWER MEMORY)never made the NY TIMES best seller list. It sold over EIGHT MILLION copies! It sold more than all the books on the non-fiction lists combined, so why wasn't it on the Times best-seller lists? Because - the book sold mostly via mail order, and the Times didn't, doesn't, check that. It calls retail stores and goes by what they're told by those stores. My book, THE MEMORY BOOK was near top of the NY Times bestseller lists and although it did fine, it didn't sell a fraction of what HTDASPM sold.
Okay; second "vignette": I was doing a 30-city book promotion tour for THE MEMORY BOOK. Bookstores were telling me that I was paying their rent, etc. Anyway...walked into a large book store somewhere in the mid-west. I saw a worker standing on an impromptu "ladder" made up of many copies of The Gulag Archipelago (a well-known book of the time), you know, sort of pyramiding the large books to be able to climb up on them.
I was having coffee with the manager, in his office, when he took a call from the NY TIMES. I heard his end of the conversation. "Yes, as a matter of fact, Mr. Lorayne is sitting here with me right now, and yes, his book is still flying off the shelves, etc." Then, I heard, "And, yes, The Gulag is still moving better than most other books." He saw me looking at him strangely as he hung up. He knew I'd seen the "ladder" of the Gulag books. He said, and although I'm paraphrasing a bit, I'm really quoting, "Well, you know, Harry, if I keep the darn book on the Times bestseller list I may be able to get rid of some more copies. Sure, we can return books if they're not selling and not autographed, but the freight charges make it unfeasible. We just want to sell the copies we have." So, you see, in these cases, the lists didn't really tell the story.
Incidentally, yes, book stores can return books if they're not autographed. That's why when I was on a book-promotion tour (I've done quite a few) and did book store appearances, I would sign every one of my books in sight; that way, they couldn't ever be returned! HARRY LORAYNE. (PS: So feel better, Richie!)