Although it once had some meaning, albeit tainted by overzealous ambitions, “#1 Bestselling Author” is now more of a meaningless fad phrase than the messy, half-assed pseudo-statistical reflection it once was.
When publishers gamed the NYT list, there were books being put out, so it stood for something about the print runs — even if the way they got counted was subject to manipulation through bulk purchases and curious sampling. Ah, the good old glory days, when publishing had quality standards.
But when it’s #1 in some tiny unknown niche, it doesn’t even reflect that.
And that’s where language goes to die: Into the hands of people who are willing to make it mean anything they unilaterally desire it to, without reference to accurate communication with others.