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Sales alone don't make a bestseller

Question: How many copies of a book must be sold before it is considered a bestseller?

Answer: According to Teresa Weaver, book editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Best Seller List is the big kahuna, but many newspapers _ USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post among them _ have their own weekly lists based on sales at an arbitrary number of stores.

In addition, there are regional lists compiled throughout the United States.

There is no minimum sales figure _ 100,000 or 1-million or whatever _ that qualifies a book as a bestseller. Technically, any book that is cited on any of the aforementioned lists is "a bestseller," but to be designated a New York Times Best Seller is still the goal of most writers. And that paper uses a very complicated formula of ranking books that is guarded like a secret recipe.

Have a question about the news? Colin Bessonette will try to get an answer. Call (404) 222-2002 or write to him at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, P.O. Box 4689, Atlanta, GA 30302, or e-mail him at q&aajc.com.

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