USA TODAY Celebrates The 20Th Anniversary Of USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books List

USA TODAY crowns three winners for No. 1 book in three separate eras

Oct 31, 2013, 06:00 ET from USA TODAY

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- USA TODAY celebrates the 20th anniversary of the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list, crowning not one, but three No.1 books for three different eras that reflect the changes in publishing over the past two decades.

Given the relative distinction of book selling in each era - and the changes in the contributors to the list over time - today's coverage highlights three distinct eras from the last 20 years of book selling with three Top 25 lists. For the 1993-1998 era - when most books were bought the old-fashioned way, in stores - John Gray's "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" is No. 1. For the 1999-2009 era - when online sales rose sharply - J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" tops that list. And since 2009, the era of e-books, Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" is No. 1. All coverage of the 20th anniversary including the full lists can be found here.

Other highlights of the last 20 years include:

  • Self-help and other advice titles were big during the first five years (1993-1998).
  • Rowling triggered Dickens-like excitement about reading and reconfigured conventional wisdom about children's books in the second era (1999-2008).
  • Since 2009, fiction (as a percentage of best sellers) has risen to all-time highs and erotica went mainstream as e-books became the fastest growing part of the market.

The weekly USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list has offered insight on reader tastes and the evolution of book selling for the past 20 years. The three 20th anniversary lists compile two decades worth of best sellers to show what has changed with readers - and what hasn't - since the list began in 1993. Unlike other major best-seller lists, USA TODAY's weekly list combines fiction, non-fiction and all genres and formats into one inclusive list that provides a clear snapshot of what America's reading. It also combines both print and digital sales.

USA TODAY book critic and reporter Bob Minzesheimer reports on these lists and publishing trends of the past two decades in today's editions of USA TODAY.

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY's mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation – today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. USA TODAY and reach a combined six million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than 18 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

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