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So what is a bestseller???

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Offline Stu Ayris Reading Dishwasher by Pete Jordan
15 Feb 2012, 02:06 PM | Post: #1

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So what is a bestseller???

Now I always thought, growing up, that a bestseller was a book that had sold more than any other (or perhaps within the top 100) over a period of time. Yet more and more I see people referring to themselves as bestselling authors or to their book as being a bestseller. And I always take a look at these books to see what mysteries I can find. So I guess in that way the promotional tag of 'bestseller' is working - well on fools like me at least!

The most wonderful example I have seen in this rather addictive new hobby of mine was the person who wrote on her blog "I woke up the next morning to find that I was a bestselling author." It seemed her novel had reached number 98 in the Amazon Erotic Fiction listings...

So I was just wondering what the general view is. Mine, for what it's worth is that the term bestseller should be reserved for those books that literally sell better than the majority of others - sadly though I see that once wonderful term being diluted to the stage where it becomes entirely meaningless.
Offline skate Reading
15 Feb 2012, 02:22 PM | Post: #2

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

This post was last modified: 15 Feb 2012 02:22 PM by skate.
I agree with you, Stu. My books have been on a few 'best seller' lists, but I've never called myself a 'best selling author' simply because it isn't true. I've managed to make it onto an obscure category listing on the basis of a few sales, that's all. If I ever make it onto the top 100 list for all Kindle books, then I will happily call myself a best seller, but until then I'm just selling a few books.
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Offline Stu Ayris Reading Dishwasher by Pete Jordan
15 Feb 2012, 02:25 PM | Post: #3

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

(15 Feb 2012 02:22 PM)skate Wrote:  I agree with you, Stu. My books have been on a few 'best seller' lists, but I've never called myself a 'best selling author' simply because it isn't true. I've managed to make it onto an obscure category listing on the basis of a few sales, that's all. If I ever make it onto the top 100 list for all Kindle books, then I will happily call myself a best seller, but until then I'm just selling a few books.

Well put! Yep! That elusive Top 100!

I struggle even to call myself an author - I'm just someone who's written a couple of books. An author is far too grand a title!
Offline TresaC Reading The Cult of Me by Michael Brookes
15 Feb 2012, 02:28 PM | Post: #4

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

Interesting thought, Stu. Especially when you consider that if a book goes free it can end up in to top one hundred of all free but depending on the categories can easily get to number one during that period.

So I could now promote one of my authors as being 'number one in religious commentaries' and number two in 'religious reference' even though he was there for only three days and the book was free. It did consequently get on the 'What's Hot' feature. Does that make him 'best selling'? Not really in my opinion. (Okay, I did take a screen shot of the number one! Smile )

Like you say, it could easily become a meaningless tag. What next? Best selling best seller? Smile
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Offline Lady Hawk Reading
15 Feb 2012, 04:18 PM | Post: #5

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

I would need to see my book in a front window display of a bookstore, before I could call myself a best selling author.


Amazon is amazon.
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Offline Ian Ayris Reading Blood Tears by Michael Malone
15 Feb 2012, 04:41 PM | Post: #6

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

For me, a bestseller is a book that sells more than any other book over a defined period - a minimum of a month - to be meaningful. The free kindle days do indeed skew things a bit, which is why the paid rankings are the only ones worth paying attention to.

The category extensions also seem a little tenuous at times. For instance, my debut novel ABIDE WITH ME is now the most talked about debut novel in FICTION-CONTEMPORARY-CRIME-COMINGOFAGE-FOOTBALL-LONDON-EASTEND-GANGSTERS-MYHOUSE.

In general, the less elongated the category, the greater the glory.

But, really, in my view, all rankings become meaningless when the only true category is how much your writing has touched the soul of another.

See, I'm in reflective mood this afternoon. Must be the middle of half-term, and I'm realising I'm surviving the onslaught. I know, it's the calm before the storm, but that's okay. Got loads of biscuits left, and the coffee jar is full.

Take care, people Smile
Offline Daphne Reading Off The KUF Volume One
15 Feb 2012, 05:58 PM | Post: #7

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

Just out of interest - Wikipedia offers a definition of "bestseller":
"A bestseller is a book that is identified as extremely popular by its inclusion on lists of currently top selling titles that are based on publishing industry and book trade figures and published by newspapers, magazines, or bookstore chains."
It give a special mention to Amazon's lists:
"Lists from Amazon.com, the dominant on-line book retailer, are based only on sales from their own Web site, and are updated on an hourly basis. Wholesale sales figures are not factored into Amazon's calculations. Numerous Web sites offer advice for authors about a temporary method to boost their book higher on Amazon's list using carefully timed buying campaigns that take advantage of the frequent adjustments to rankings.... The brief sales spike allows authors to tout that their book was an "Amazon.com top 100 seller" in marketing materials for books that actually have relatively low sales."
The OED, on the other hand, settles for: "A book or other product that sells in very large numbers," - which leaves the definition of a "large number" open for debate.
Offline TresaC Reading The Cult of Me by Michael Brookes
15 Feb 2012, 06:18 PM | Post: #8

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

(15 Feb 2012 04:18 PM)Lady Hawk Wrote:  I would need to see my book in a front window display of a bookstore, before I could call myself a best selling author.


Amazon is amazon.

Or pay a large high street chain £50,000 like the others do! Me, bitter about the power of the big boys? Never! Wink
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Offline BigBob Reading The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
15 Feb 2012, 11:07 PM | Post: #9

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RE: So what is a bestseller???

Er...are you talking about 'a bestseller' or his/her bestseller?
When I see a book with the words "His new bestseller", I might think to myself "I wonder how many he sold before." Whistle
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