book that, for a time, leads all others of its kind in sales, a designation that serves as an index of popular literary taste and judgment. Bookman, an American magazine of literature and criticism, began running best-seller lists in 1895, when it began publication. The list was compiled from reports of sales at bookstores throughout the country. Similar lists began to appear in other literary magazines and in metropolitan newspapers. The lists most commonly considered authoritative in the United States are those of Publishers Weekly and The New York Times. The practice spread from the United States; the British list generally considered most authoritative is that of The Sunday Times (London), reprinted in Bookseller.

      Such lists are obviously of greatest use to publishers and booksellers. From the beginning there has been a tendency among both critics and the general public to suppose that because a book is a best-seller it cannot have literary merit. This is not necessarily true.

      Students of popular literary taste point out that the leading categories of books, in terms of sales, are religious and “inspirational” books, books of advice for self-improvement, romantic and semihistorical novels, and novels of sex and sensationalism.

      Excluded from such lists are the works of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and direct-mail and book-club sales. The all-time best-seller in the English-speaking world—said to be unequaled in sales—is the Bible. Indeed, in the United States, in the period since 1895, the only book that has outsold it in a given month is Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936), a historical novel set in the South during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

      Other all-time best-selling titles, such as Charles Sheldon's In His Steps (an estimated 8,000,000 copies since 1897), Lloyd C. Douglas' The Robe (1942), and Henry Morton Robinson's The Cardinal (1950), reveal the popularity of books with religious themes. Also highly popular among American readers are books of self-improvement or self-help, such as Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People (1937), Benjamin Spock's The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946), and Thomas Harris' I'm O.K., You're O.K. (1969).

      The advent of the mass-produced paperback, which began in the late 1930s, resulted in separate paperback best-seller lists, beginning in 1976. Other categories that are highly successful are cookbooks (Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book has sold more than 18,000,000 copies since 1930) and crime—both fiction and nonfiction (e.g., Mario Puzo's The Godfather [1969] and Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward's All the President's Men [1974]). The taboo against sexual explicitness that earlier resulted in censorship or moral disapproval had disappeared by the second half of the 20th century, so that Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls (1966) and David Reuben's Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask (1969) were both among the top 20 all-time best-sellers.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Best seller — Littérature Par catégories …   Wikipédia en Français

  • best-seller — [ bɛstsɛlɶr ] n. m. • 1947, répandu v. 1960; mot angl. amér. « le mieux vendu » ♦ Anglic. Livre qui a obtenu un grand succès de librairie. Des best sellers. « Comment choisir à travers les productions dont les éditeurs nous inondent ?... Les best …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • best seller — ˌbest ˈseller , best seller noun [countable] MARKETING a very popular book or other product, that many people buy: • The book has been on the New York Times fiction best seller list for more than 30 weeks. • The company s best sellers are its… …   Financial and business terms

  • best-séller — (plural best sellers; del inglés; pronunciamos beséler o bedséler beséler o bedséler ) sustantivo masculino 1. Libro que tiene un gran éxito de ventas: Su libro se ha convertido en un best séller …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • best-seller — best sel|ler best|sell|er [ˌbestˈselə US ər] n a popular product, especially a book, which many people buy ▪ His new book went straight to number one on the best seller list . ▪ The game is already a bestseller in Japan. >best selling adj… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • best seller — /bes(t)&s0ller, ingl. ˈbɛstˌsɛlə(r)/ [vc. ingl., comp. di best «il migliore» e seller «ciò che si vende»] loc. sost. m. inv. (di libro, disco e sim.) libro più venduto, libro di maggior successo, disco di maggior successo, autore di maggior… …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • best-seller — [n] top selling item a top ten, chart buster, favorite, hit*, hot item*, hot seller, mover*, number one, record breaker, success, winner; concepts 423,446 Ant. failure, flop …   New thesaurus

  • best seller — /best selə/, it. /bɛst sɛl:er/ locuz. ingl. (propr. [il prodotto] che si vende meglio ), usata in ital. come s.m. (comm.) [libro, disco e sim. che ha avuto più larga vendita in un periodo determinato] ▶◀ hit, record (di incassi), successo.… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • best seller — best sellers also bestseller N COUNT A best seller is a book of which a great number of copies has been sold. Syn: blockbuster …   English dictionary

  • best-seller — s. m. 1. Grande êxito de livraria; livro de grande tiragem. 2. Grande êxito de vendas. 3.  [Por extensão] Autor de livro ou de livros de grande venda. • Plural: best sellers.   ‣ Etimologia: palavra inglesa que significa o mais vendido   • Nota:… …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • best seller — → superventas …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”