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A bestseller is, usually, a book that is included on a list of top-selling or frequently-borrowed titles, normally based on publishing industry and book trade figures and library circulation statistics; such lists may be published by newspapers, magazines, or book store chains.
Some lists are broken down into classifications and specialties (number one best selling new novel, nonfiction book, cookbook, etc.). are published by Publishers Weekly, USA Today, New York Times and the Washington Post.
An author may also be referred to as a bestseller if their work often appears in this category. Most of these lists track book sales from national and independent bookstores, as well as sales from major internet retailers such as and Barnes & Noble.
In everyday use, the term bestseller is not usually associated with a specified level of sales, and may be used very loosely indeed in publishers' publicity.
Books of superior academic value or literary merit tend not to be bestsellers, although there are exceptions.
Lists simply give the highest-selling titles in the category over the stated period.
Some books have sold many more copies than current "bestsellers", but over a long period of time.
Steinberg defined a bestseller as a book for which demand, within a short time of that book's initial publication, vastly exceeds what is then considered to be big sales.but the phenomenon of immediate popularity goes back to the early days of mass production of printed books.For earlier books, when the maximum number of copies that would be printed was relatively small, a count of editions is the best way to assess sales.Since effective copyright was slow to take hold, many editions were pirated well into the period of the Enlightenment, and without effective royalty systems in place, authors often saw little, if any, of the revenues for their popular works.The earliest highly popular books were nearly all religious, but the Bible, as a large book, remained expensive until the nineteenth century.
This tended to keep the numbers printed and sold, low.