The Elusive Best Seller

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“The best seller is caught in a peculiar paradox: Its popularity can be understood as both proof and negation of its value.”

The term “best seller,” is in question. Bookforum has an essay on how the term is more of a hyperbolic designation with a shifting definition, than one that is clear-cut and quantifiable. With the inundation of new fiction, many times books sell fast but not always sustainably. And are popularity and literary esteem mutually exclusive?


Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →