How do I find stats on how well books sold?
June 29, 2005 5:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for ways, preferably quick and online, to find out what bestselling books for the past few years have been. Searchable by genre is a plus.

I need examples of books in certain genres that have sold well over the last few (broadly defined) years. Say, from about 1999 forward. Specifically, I am looking for books about: Environmental issues; Asian culture and/or Asian history; or Military issues (preferably limited to "impact a nation's military has on another, colonized nation").

Ideally, I'd like links to sites with this info (including but not limited to bestseller lists), and bonus points for stats on how many books were sold.

If you can't help with that, suggestions of books you know of within these genres that you think sold well are appreciated, too. Much obliged.
posted by jeffmshaw to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
American Booksellers Association weekly bestsellers list archive, going back to November 1999. For category bestsellers, you may have to dig in the archives of publications that focus on books dealing with military/asian/environmental issues. Don't know what those might be, but any university librarian should be able to help you focus your search.
posted by mediareport at 4:48 AM on June 30, 2005

jeff: You won't get stats on how many copies a book sold unless it really breaks out as a best-seller or if you can find the author's homepage. This is probably one of the most frustrating things about hte publishing industry for anyone outside the industry- we rarely share sales information on our books. (Inside the industry is a different story- you call your friends or other lowly assistants and either plead, cajole or make promises of alcoholic beverages after work if they would get sales figures on specific books.) I would suggest looking up old Publishers Weekly issues and scan the best-seller pages. You could also check out Michael Korda's book on best-sellers. You could also dig in to Bacon's Guide to find genre-specific magazines. Wish I could be of more help, but I can't remember any of the big titles for Environmental or Asian studies. The military issues you're referring to would really be classified as Current Affairs or history and there have been quite a few in the Current Affairs category. Good luck,
posted by rodz at 6:34 AM on June 30, 2005

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