Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Making it to a list of any kind gets attention. The item on it is guaranteed at least its 15 minutes of fame. The list that every book aspires to be on is of course, “The Bestseller List”.
Sounds catchy, but as history will testify, finding a place on it is easier written than done. The reason a bestseller book list is an enviable list is to be on is because it marks out an author and puts him on the who’s who of the writing world.
A bestseller list is purely about the number of books sold and it does not have a direct bearing on the actual merit of the book. Even then, a book title on such a list is indicative of the fact that you can buy and give it a read.
So as a reader, which are the lists you should follow. We start with the most definitive and then move on to the next bests.
A place on The New York Times’ weekly list is sure to get you worldwide book signing tours. Not only is this list the most widely recognized, it is also probably one of the oldest ones out there. The exact nature of compiling this leading list is not known, but the rankings do focus on the number of retail sales as against wholesale. Thus, this represents what an individual buyer may be actually buying off the shelf. In tune with the times, The New York Times Bestseller list also has a category for e-books. On the site, you can also check out rankers in previous lists.
These days a lot many books are finding their place into our hands from online stores. Amazon is the preeminent one among them. The lists are updated hourly, and though this list is absolutely about books that are sold by Amazon, you can get some pretty fair tips on what’s moving up in the book ecosystem. Amazon’s features like customer discussions, book previews, the Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought section are pretty good sources for buying tips. You can also see which books made it in any particular category, and the ones which made it by date ranges.
Unlike Amazon, USA Today’s bestseller book list doesn’t distinguish between formats. It combines sales figures across all formats and across all selling sources (online and offline) into the week’s 150 top-selling titles. The list has to be respected because USA Today is also the widest circulated print newspaper in the United States. The bestselling books list is very sortable by rank, title, and author. You can also reach into the previous lists by clicking on the little calendar icon. The list also put all types of books: hardcover, fiction, non-fiction, e-books, etc on one single list. If you want to use it as a shopping reference, just print out the list.
Barnes & Noble is one of the largest online retailers of books in the U.S. So, their Barnes & Noble Top 100 is a good read. The list is all about the top selling books from the Barnes & Noble chains across the country. The bestselling books can be viewed in many ways – Bestsellers by Subject, Paperback Bestsellers, The Year’s Top 100, This Hour’s Top 100 etc. just to name a few.
About.com has guides on many subjects; one of them is on bestsellers. Compiled by a lady, Erin Collazo Miller, the bestseller list is a subjective evaluation of what’s a good read currently. The guide also has recommendation lists by genre and topic, and reviews of the latest books. The books may be individual picks (i.e. by sales figures) but you can definitely run your eyes over the titles that get mentioned.
This book discussion club started by iconic American TV host Oprah Winfrey probably gave rise to the term – The Oprah Effect. It is not an “official” bestselling list of any kind, but a mere mention of a book can make a book be a member of any bestselling list. The book club is highly influential, so a visit to catch the Oprah Book Club is definitely in order.
Last but in no way the least, let’s take a look at what this international book news website of book publishing and the bookselling business says about top-selling books. The American book trade magazine is nearly 138 years old. The site is known for its book reviews, so you can expect lot of it finds an echo in the top picks that the magazine publishes online on its site. Also, always watch out for the Best of the Year lists that come out. Here’s the one for 2010. You can also register for free access to their Best Seller Archive.
Booklist started as a book review magazine by the American Library Association. So, you can not only read book reviews catering to a broad section of the pie but also go over lists of current and past winners of awards such as the Pulitzer, Booker, Newberry and Printz. The left sidebar has a long lineup of literary recognitions and is thus a treasure trove of books that should prove page turners.
This eight member list may not be all about books that are selling like hot cakes, but if any book from these lists sufficiently arouses your reading interest, then it definitely will make the list which matters most – yours.
Let us know if you follow book reviews or book websites to broaden your book reading choices.
Image Credit: Shutterstock