Books: The Gutenberg Fallacy

70 YEARS OF BEST SELLERS 1895-1965 by Alice Payne Hackett. 246 pages. R. R. Bowker. $7.90.

What is a bestseller, anyway? The phrase is handy but hardly precise. Biggest-seller or most-seller would be more accurate, since the connotation of quality in "best" is frequently undeserved. And there is doubt even as to quantity. A novel that sells 5,000 copies in one week may edge onto the weekly lists (usually compiled from bookstore reports), rub titles with yearlong, million-copy works and fade into the remainder stores after a few weeks.

This newly updated compilation of...

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