Bestselling books are notoriously difficult to quantify.
First, it’s hard to gauge overall digital sales in tandem with various print formats. Second, according to Publishers Weekly, figures are complicated by various lists that cover multiple categories across several formats. Bestsellers cover fiction, nonfiction, and genre as well as formats like trade paperback or hardcover editions. The titles on our list of 25 bestsellers from the last decade appear on lists compiled by Publishers Weekly, but they’re also stand-out books that probably have titles you remember or that remain familiar. Many of the books on our list were made into movies or captured the cultural zeitgeist. Want to know more? Here’s the lowdown on what it takes to become a bestseller.
The Shack spent 51 weeks on the trade bestseller list in 2009. William P. Young’s mystical allegory boasts over 20 million copies sold on its latest cover. In the popular novel, God invites a man to spend a weekend in a shack. The man suffers from unimaginable loss, but finds redemption.
Malcolm Gladwell’s nonfiction pop-science book struck a chord with readers. Gladwell makes his topic accessible and highly readable as he examines the nature of success. Gladwell looks at various successful people and examines the environment that made them exceptional in ways that offer surprising and unexpected insights.