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How many book sales equal an Amazon bestseller?

Amazon sales figures are among the best kept, and most sought after, secrets in the publishing industry. The list updates hourly but Amazon, the biggest book retailer in the country, refuses to share data on what level of sales correspond to a coveted spot at the top of the list. (The New York Times' bestseller list, still arguably the most influential in the country, is also cagey with its metrics.)

In an article today, Publishers Weekly tried to reverse engineer a book's sales on Amazon by tracking its position on the bestseller list. The conclusion, which is couched in plenty of caveats, is that reaching the top of the Amazon list only requires about 300 sales through the site per day. It's not a result that will cheer the always beleaguered publishing industry.

Here's how the experiment worked:

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