Zaza's first published book sold a grand total of 400 copies. He was informed by his editor that books need to sell at least 1000 copies to get a bestseller rating.

Why was that enough sales to be considered a bestseller?

  • When? Where? What genre/format of book? Which bestseller chart?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 9:51
  • @StuartF The book is set in Georgia and was copyright in 2009. The book doesn't indicate which bestseller list. Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


You’d be surprised how few book sales it takes to get a bestseller rating. Graham Greene was able to quit his job at the Times on sales of 3000 copies of The Man Within (although that was a rather different time with lower living expenses relative to income—contemporary authors who sell 3000 copies won’t be quitting their day jobs). Lani Sarema got to the top of the New York Times bestseller list in 2017 by buying¹ 5000 copies of her book. I would imagine that in the context of Georgian book sales, 1000 copies would be a large number of sales.

  1. As I recall, she didn’t even have to actually buy the books, but rather placed preorders of books at bookstores who report to the New York Times. Each preorder was something like 19 copies which was just short of the threshold where the order would be considered a bulk order and wouldn’t count for the New York Times list.

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