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Thread: Bestsellers and Classics: The difference?

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Bestsellers and Classics: The difference?

    And what would you say is the worst bestseller or literally worstseller?
    Last edited by cacian; 12-04-2012 at 09:00 AM.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    A bestseller can be measured in money. This is not necessarily the case for classics. In my opinion classics have something to do with quality (whatever this may mean...).
    (e.g. Dan Brown or those Twilight books are bestsellers, but they are crap and therefore should/could never become classics ).
    Last edited by loe; 12-04-2012 at 09:49 AM.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Hi loe and thank you for posting. I did wonder about bestsellers as being 'popular' since their concept is that they sell because they are good reads.
    A classic is because many read it and think it is worthy of reading. So there is a fine line somehow between popularity and classics.
    If it is popular it must be good to read a classic is.
    I agree Dan Brown can't be a classic.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    dark desire dark desire's Avatar
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    Bad bestsellers are like bastard children of older classics, but then someone can say that this is an insult to children born outside marriages.
    Being taken literally, is like being sent to hell LITERALLY.

    “It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.”
    ― Oscar Wilde

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Bestsellers are the opium of the masses. They are generally undemanding but provide entertainment or make you cry.

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    There is best-sellers that became classics. Some still (Shakespeare still the best-selling author of all time). So, they do not exclude each other.

    Cacian, a best-seller means good marketing behind it. The product (thus if the book is good or not) is only one of the elements of marketing. As you do with other products (tv, food, cars), you must also analyse distribution, propaganda, promotions, price, public, etc. to tell why a book sells.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    Bestsellers are the opium of the masses. They are generally undemanding but provide entertainment or make you cry.
    Do you mean like a cheap show?
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    ... a best-seller means good marketing behind it. The product (thus if the book is good or not) is only one of the elements of marketing.
    I absolutely agree with that. Popularity is usually a result of good marketing no matter of the quality.
    My pessimistic point of view is that this development is increasing especially nowadays: To spend more time and money for marketing instead of for the product. To create a sensation at all costs...

    (But reading Balzac taught me, that this influence of marketing and print media isn't a new trend at all... )

    (And of course, a popular selling book can also really be good and became a classic).

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loe View Post
    I absolutely agree with that. Popularity is usually a result of good marketing no matter of the quality.
    My pessimistic point of view is that this development is increasing especially nowadays: To spend more time and money for marketing instead of for the product. To create a sensation at all costs...

    (But reading Balzac taught me, that this influence of marketing and print media isn't a new trend at all... )

    (And of course, a popular selling book can also really be good and became a classic).
    I am not sure that is always true. That Fifty Shades of Grey series was self-published by E.L. James on a website and became popular through word of mouth.

    The last book I finished, Author, Author by David Lodge was partly about what makes a work of fiction a best-seller and what makes a classic. It was about a period of Henry James life in which he tried his hand as a playwright. Henry James wrote highly nuanced, beautifully worded literature, which sold reasonably well, but not as well as he would have liked. His best friend, George du Maurier, then wrote a book called Trilby, which became incredibly popular in Britain and America, first as a book and then on stage. People still read Henry James' books, but not many people have heard of Trilby, although they may have heard of Svengali figures and Trilby hats. David Lodge had Henry James thinking that something had changed. Previously people had read books by the likes of Dickens, Austen and Shakespeare that were popular and classic literature together. By the turn of the twentieth century popular and classic literature were not the same.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Word of Mouth, Website, self-publish, all tolls of Marketing. Do not think in big stores as marketing only, or selling as just the exchange of money, think as the means used to produce goods (not only physical objects) and make it reach the consumer.

    As the turn of XX century... Henry James was not a classic when he was alive. He became a classic with time. Same with Dickens. XX century certainly had best sellers that became classic, just like anytime.
    Last edited by JCamilo; 12-04-2012 at 01:16 PM.

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    So which are the best bestsellers? Let's leave Shakespeare and the Bible out for the usual reasons Inspiration:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

    Good to see the following on there:

    A Tale of Two Cities
    War and Peace
    Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Don Quixote
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    The Grapes of Wrath
    The Plague

    There are also several children's classics on the list, and some modern contenders, so it's not all bad...

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I am not sure that is always true. That Fifty Shades of Grey series was self-published by E.L. James on a website and became popular through word of mouth.
    I am not so sure it was word of mouth I was sure it was mainly television media basically.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    So which are the best bestsellers? Let's leave Shakespeare and the Bible out for the usual reasons Inspiration:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

    Good to see the following on there:

    A Tale of Two Cities
    War and Peace
    Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Don Quixote
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    The Grapes of Wrath
    The Plague

    There are also several children's classics on the list, and some modern contenders, so it's not all bad...
    Interesting - why is A Tale of Two Cities the best selling book of all time when none of Dickens' other books are in the top 100? It seems odd that none of Jane Austen's books appear in that list. Stereotyping, I would have thought Pride and Prejudice was the most popular book ever amongst the ladies. The list looks suspiciously Anglo-Saxon too.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    50 Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fanfiction so it got some publicity there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Interesting - why is A Tale of Two Cities the best selling book of all time when none of Dickens' other books are in the top 100?
    Only a wild guess: could it be that broader historical subjects (not only British social injusties) attracted more people??

    Very interesting list... and somehow relieving.

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