How Machine Learning Can Help Predict a Bestseller

machine learning, publishers, data, big dataLast month, Mike Shatzkin wrote a blog post titled “Full text examination by computer is very unlikely to predict bestsellers,” in which he described how the claims of the creation of an algorithm that predicts bestsellers, as outlined in a new book The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel, are impossible.

While I agree in theory with Shatzkin that an algorithm alone cannot predict whether a book will be a bestseller or not, that isn’t precisely what The Bestseller Code claims, nor what our experience working with machine learning at Intellogo defines.

What we aim to do is identify similar tones, moods, topics and writing styles to those books that are topping bestseller lists—as we can only do through algorithms—and, in this way, better understand the reading audiences’ desires. Machine learning allows us to do just that.

Much more.


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