A total of 462 novels spent at least one week atop the New York Times Bestsellers List for Adult Fiction during the period of 1960 through 2009. Adjusting for 37 weeks of strikes and 84 weeks when short story/novella collections and other non-novel books dominated, this represented an average stay of 5.4 weeks per novel.
The length of the stay on top changed dramatically over the years. In the 1960s, 31 novels accounted for the entries for the entire decade. In the 2000s, this number had risen to 219. Correspondingly, over this period the average number of weeks at the number one position dropped from 16.1 to 2.4.
|The above graph shows the average length of stay for all novels in each decade.|
From the 1960s through 1999, a total of 28 novels remained at the number one position for only one week. From 2000 to 2009, that number ballooned to 115. During the sixties, the median number of weeks as a number one bestseller was 15 weeks. In the 2000s, it was 1.
|The ballooning number of novels lasting one week at #1.|
During the decade beginning 2010 this trend has continued. So far, there have been only 11 novels that have stayed on top for at least four weeks. It is hard to say whether they define a trend in their own right, however, they seem to differ from those of the past, favoring female and fledgling authors. Indeed, many veterans of past years have not been able to sustain a book in the number one position for four weeks, including Stephen King, James Patterson while venerable bestsellers Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton have passed on.
Novels On Top of the NYT Adult Fiction Bestseller List for at least 4 Weeks During the 2010s.
2010-12 The Help, Kathryn Stockett, 21 weeks
2010-11 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, Stieg Larsson, 9 weeks
2011 Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen, 8 weeks
2012 Fifty Shades of Grey, E. L. James, 29 weeks
2012-15 Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, 7 weeks
2013 Safe Haven, Nicholas Sparks, 7 weeks
2013 The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith, 7 weeks
2013 Inferno, Dan Brown, 2013, 6 weeks
2013 Sycamore Row, John Grisham, 7 weeks
2014 The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt, 4 weeks
2015 The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins 13 weeks plus
Of the above group, female authors make up 7 of the 11 entries for 87 weeks while men make up 4 entries for 29 weeks. First novels make up three entries: The Help, Fifty Shades of Grey and Girl on the Train, while The Goldfinch, Gone Girl, Water for Elephants, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest are third novels. Only Grisham, Sparks, Rowling (Galbraith) and Brown represent the old vanguard of bestsellers.
Continued with Part Four.
Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.
A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.
A Predator's Game, now available, Rook's Page Publishing.
Back page blurb.
When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.
Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, features Nikola Tesla as detective.