Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What makes a bestseller?

Here's a quick and dirty P5 for you . . .

(1) SUFFER IN SILENCE: 28,402 6
(3) CONVICTION: 75,168 6
(5) COOKIN' FOR LOVE: 91,805 5


No matter what PublishAmerica tells you about how they are the nation's largest book publisher (or whatever) or even what Random House may tell you--it turns out Lulu may end up being the world's largest--if you go by number of titles.

This is a nifty article--and the numbers are astounding. Looks like being in the DIY generation may push Lulu into the number one spot.

And there is even more info here.

Some great (and telling) stats/comments include:

"According to Publishers Weekly, of the 18,108 titles published by the American self-publishing company iUniverse in 2004, only 14 were on sale in Barnes & Noble and only 83 sold more than 500 copies."

"[Young's] ambition is to have a million authors selling 100 copies each, rather than 100 authors selling a million copies each. He claims that in a few years there will be more titles being published on than in the conventional publishing industry."

Well, the answer to my bestseller question is vague. It seems everyone (every paper, that is) has some different standard for what makes a book a bestseller in terms of sales. Usually, it is something like 20,000 units over a specific period (like a few weeks or a month.)

In PublishAmerica's case, we have to assume it is something like 6 or 7 books.

PA has this posted on their website:

"PublishAmerica Celebrates James Elders's Best-Selling Book
Flatwoods and Lighterknots---James Elders's rich, candid cameo into post-World War II southern culture---is one of PublishAmerica's Top-Ten Best-Selling Books for the month of February; it is the story of America's technological---and societal---response to the advent of peace, as chronicled through the poignant narrative of a young boy. Congratulations to James Elders!"

The book's Amazon ranking (which, granted, is not a tell-all) has been hovering in the 1,500,000 range, which is about a book every three weeks. Not to disparage Mr. Elders's book, of course--it might actually be good (I have not read it) but if PA is going to take this approach, maybe they should just go ahead and say all their books are bestsellers--sort of the way I do about my own.