"New York Times Best-selling author" is a one of those highly treasured accolades to which most writers aspire. It's the kind of recognition that can make or break a writer's career — even though the numbers are not curated in a plain and simple way. Consider the way that Donald Trump Jr. hacked his way to the top of the list by buying up copies of his own book, in order to become a "New York Times Best-selling author," thus guaranteeing higher sales for his book.
(Full disclosure: I do work for a company that is owned by the New York Times, a fact which does not impact my perspectives either way.)
Over on Medium, a user calling themself "John the Correlator" has compiled all of the publicly-available data related to the Times' best-seller list, and crunched the numbers to analyze the demographic diversity of the authors represented by the list. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not very representative of the US population:
There's a lot more specific data broken down in the blog post, titled, "We Need To Talk About The List." And I suspect that we'll be seeing more from John the Correlator soon. But needless to say, it all supports the thesis: we need to talk about the list.
We Need To Talk About The List [John the Correlator / Medium]