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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The top twelve titles booksellers must always stock.

No Booker Prize winners make the cut, while only three titles from the BBC's 2003 Big Read poll of the nation's 100 favourite books are represented.

But the self-help book The Road Less Travelled by American psychiatrist M Scott Peck is included, as is James Redfield's New Age tome, The Celestine Prophecy - which the author originally published himself.

Perhaps more predictably, JRR Tolkien comes a respectable third with The Hobbit while Delia Smith makes an appearance at number four for her Complete Cookery Course.

Fantasy author Terry Pratchett, who recently revealed he has early onset Alzheimer's disease, makes the list three times for novels from his Discworld series.

These books have what is termed in retail a 'long tail' - they sell for a long time after the initial peak. It has led Nielsen to nickname them the "evergreens".
But this strikes me as a rather crucial methodological failing:
Some believe the list is distorted in that it measures the sales of particular ISBN numbers, rather than titles.

Consequently they say classics like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which was published under 62 different editions in 2007, do not make the list when they should.