The Bestsellers of 2017
In retrospect, 2016 seemed like a cakewalk for first timers.
Of the nine debuts that hit the list last year, seven lasted more
than a week and several boasted impressive longevity: Cynthia
D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, and
Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter held spots on the list for 22, 13,
and 11 weeks, respectively.
Movie Tie-in or Book Tie-in?
Perhaps people should start referring to some films as “book
Hanging on to the
tie-ins.” Publishers can take pride in
knowing that many of 2017’s bestselling
movie tie-ins were from leading authors
whose books made much more noise on
the page than on the screen, demon-
strating that the relationship between
books and films is far from a one-way
street. Among those that returned to
bestseller lists were Agatha Christie’s
Murder on the Orient Express, Stephen
King’s It, Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the
Train, and Lee Child’s Never Go Back.
Still, Hollywood helps publishers’
bottom lines. Morrow, in particular, ben-
efitted this year with Hidden Figures,
which rode the coattails of the movie adaptation’s Oscar-
winning success. Holding the #1 spot on our Trade Paperback
list for eight of its 30 weeks there, Hidden Figures was one of
a very few books in the format to last more than a few weeks
on top. In a more old-fashioned form of film-book synergy,
in which a book owes its existence to a movie, Morrow also
had a hit with Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion
Picture, written by the film’s official historian, Joshua Levine.
Many titles have had fleeting encounters
with #1 status, but she remains a fickle
mistress, and few held on for long. The
longest-lasting chart toppers on our Trade
Paperback list besides Hidden Figures were
Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, with
18 weeks at #1, and Rupi Kaur’s The Sun
and Her Flowers, with 10 weeks.
Across the other lists, including mass
market, only John Grisham and Danielle
Steel saw #1 for more than five weeks. As
noted above, Grisham’s three books to
reach the top garnered a combined 16
weeks: five weeks each for his two hardcovers and six for his mass market
paperback. Steel’s mass market paperback of The Apartment enjoyed the #1 spotlight for five weeks.
The vast majority of bestselling nonfiction hardcovers spent only one or two
weeks at #1. Of the 30 titles to reach the
summit, five lasted for three weeks, one
lasted for four weeks (Astrophysics for
People in a Hurry), and one for five weeks
(The Pioneer Women Cooks: Come and Get It!,
Ree Drummond’s latest in her series of
BESTSELLERS BY FORMAT
Hardcover Fiction 251 273 268 268 279
Hardcover Nonfiction 269 267 283 320 319
Mass Market 290 264 291 276 330
Trade Paperback 187 226 217 213 246
The table above indicates the number of titles that appeared on the bestseller lists in each
format during the given year.
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017