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One Hundred Years of Solitude Bestsellers in the United States, 1900-1999


  • Cédric Ceulemans
  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • Juan Prieto-Rodríguez
  • Sheila Weyers


We study the fiction publishing sector using the top ten annual best-sold novels in the United States during the whole 20th century. We show that there is inequality in genders (especially between 1950 and 1980), and large differences in age for first and last book by bestselling authors. We also report on the number of times each writer is listed among the top ten, and find that during the 20 last years of the century, it became much more difficult for new writers to enter the list. Though we cannot show that this is caused by the very important concentration of publishers, the two phenomena are obviously correlated. We discuss at some length the reasons for which female authors almost disappeared as bestsellers after 1950, and make an incursion into the quality of bestsellers, using as measure the number of authors who were also given important literary awards.

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  • Cédric Ceulemans & Victor Ginsburgh & Juan Prieto-Rodríguez & Sheila Weyers, 2018. "One Hundred Years of Solitude Bestsellers in the United States, 1900-1999," Working Papers ECARES 2018-26, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/277361

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ordanini, Andrea & Nunes, Joseph C., 2016. "From fewer blockbusters by more superstars to more blockbusters by fewer superstars: How technological innovation has impacted convergence on the music chart," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 297-313.
    2. Alexander, Peter J., 1997. "Product variety and market structure: A new measure and a simple test," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 207-214, February.
    3. Alan T. Sorensen, 2007. "Bestseller Lists And Product Variety," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 715-738, December.
    4. Keuschnigg, Marc, 2015. "Product Success in Cultural Markets: The Mediating Role of Familiarity, Peers, and Experts," MPRA Paper 63444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    superstar effect; winner-takes-all effect; bestseller books;

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