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but the phenomenon of immediate popularity goes back to the early days of mass production of printed books.
For earlier books, when the maximum number of copies that would be printed was relatively small, a count of editions is the best way to assess sales.
This tended to keep the numbers printed and sold, low.
Unlike today, it was important for a book to be short to be a bestseller, or it would be too expensive to reach a large audience.
The New York Times was reported to have started its "Children's Books" section in 2001 just to move the Harry Potter books out of the No.
1, 2, and 3 positions on their fiction chart, which the then three-book series had monopolized for over a year.
A bestseller is, usually, a book that is included on a list of top-selling or frequently-borrowed titles, normally based on publishing industry and book trade figures and library circulation statistics; such lists may be published by newspapers, magazines, or book store chains.
In everyday use, the term bestseller is not usually associated with a specified level of sales, and may be used very loosely indeed in publishers' publicity.
Some books have sold many more copies than current "bestsellers", but over a long period of time.