Blogger: Rachel Kent
What gives a book bestseller potential? I’m not entirely sure of the answer to this question myself, so I’d love to explore it with you. I have an example of a bestseller and the reasons why I think it is so successful, and at the end of the post I’ll be asking for your contributions.
In the most recent Publisher’s Weekly magazine, there was an advertisement for the 5th edition of What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. The advertisement listed all sorts of statistics about the book’s success. Here are a few:
- The book has over 18.5 million copies in print.
- It is the longest-running New York Times bestseller ever–as in number one in the entire history of The New York Times bestseller list.
- It is read by 93% of women who read a pregnancy book, and it is the pregnancy book most recommended by doctors.
In this book’s case, I believe what gives it the boost it needs to keep selling is that there are always new buyers. New women get pregnant each year and this book has a good reputation and is likely to be recommended by a pregnant friend or a doctor.
With my first pregnancy, I got a used copy of this book from my mom and my mother-in-law. These weren’t their books, but they both found it used somewhere and thought of me. I wasn’t going to buy a pregnancy book for myself, but I did end up using this one quite a bit. I liked the week-by-week format and personable tone. I got rid of both copies after my pregnancy thinking that I already knew everything about pregnancy after being pregnant once. Turns out that this pregnancy (yes, I’m expecting again) has been completely different and I’ve occasionally wished for a copy of that book.
I also think that this book’s greatest advantage–the fact that there are always new buyers–is countered by the fact that there are always women finishing their “new mom” time of life and they are all getting rid of their copies. The publisher is smart to release new additions to try to combat this and it seems to be working for them.
This book is also a book that many people could give as a gift to a mom-to-be. I could see that it is a natural gift for moms to give to their pregnant daughters when they are told the good news.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on why bestselling books are successful.
Can you name a bestseller? Why do you think that book has done so well?
Can you think of other reasons why What to Expect When You’re Expecting is so successful?