What Requirements Are There for a Book to Be a New York Times Best Seller?


Quick Answer

For a book to be a New York Times Best Seller, it must be the most sold book in the United States of its genre within a certain week. The list of New York Times Best Sellers is published weekly in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

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Full Answer

The list of New York Times Best Sellers is divided into fiction and non-fiction sections, each containing about 10 to 20 titles. Expanded lists, which are available online, include other categories such as Advice, How-to and Miscellaneous, Children’s Literature, Trade Fiction and Mass-Market Fiction. These lists are compiled using selected samples of independent bookstores, chain bookstores and wholesalers across the United States.

It is important to consider that only certain vendors with a relationship with the New York Times report their sales to the list. Stores such as Target, Costco and Wal-mart, which account for over 10,000 department stores nationwide, are examples of stores which do not report sales to the New York Times. Additionally, some books are flagged with a dagger (†) to indicate that a large number of bulk orders for that book had been received by retailers. Readers of the list of New York Times Best Sellers should consider it a relative measure of books sold at a certain time, rather than a definitive, quality-based ranking.

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