According to Wikipedia, a “bestseller” is defined as “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.”
Nearly every major newspaper, bookstore and publisher have their own bestseller lists for the purposes of marketing and advertising. In fact, Wikipedia goes on to state: “In everyday use, the term bestseller is not usually associated with a specified level of sales, and may be used very loosely indeed in publisher’s publicity…Lists simply give the highest-selling titles in the category over the stated period.”
Every month, Outskirts Press compiles its own Top 10 best seller list. This list publicizes the top ten bestselling books published by Outskirts Press within the given month. Naturally, this list is quite different from a New York Times Best Seller list or an Amazon Best Seller list, since the New York Times list tracks national and independent bookstore figures while Amazon tracks all its internet book sales from among its 6 million-plus book database.
Since the number of books that must be sold in order to qualify for different lists varies so greatly, it is often not enough to simply call a book a “bestseller” or to refer to an author as a “bestseller.” This is why most bestselling claims include the name of the list. For example: “The #1 New York Times Bestseller” or “The #1 Amazon.com Bestseller.”
That said, appearing on any bestseller list is impressive in its own right, as it demonstrates a quantitative value to the number of books sold in relation to every other book that was tracked for that time period. For the New York Times, that is the total number of books available at national and independent bookstores; for Amazon, it it some 6 million-plus books; and for Outskirts Press, it is the total number of books we have published.
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