Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2008 Issue

AbeBooks Lists Its Top Sellers, Most Expensive Books for 2007

Is writing self-help books one of the 7 habits of highly effective people?


By Michael Stillman

AbeBooks has issued its lists of the bestselling books, most expensive books, and various other "top 10 and 25" lists, such as top authors, signed books, and used books. As the largest of the book listing sites, booksellers will undoubtedly want to know what sells best on Abe. Here is your answer.

The top 25 bestsellers list is filled with recent, highly popular books. This is a very different list from the BookFinder top 10, where the searching (but not selling) site favorites are the very hard to find. Abe's most popular books are not hard to find at all. People just like to buy them on Abe (most likely for the price).

Abe's most expensive sales are an unusual lot. These are not the very expensive books found in the AE Top 500 at auction. Number 1 on Abe would not even come close to cracking the AE Top 500. Abe doesn't sell the most expensive books, just the most. Nevertheless, there are some nice sales here, number 1 reaching almost $25,000. And, while Abebooks has expanded from its site in the English language to sites in German, French and Spanish, they ought to offer one in Latin to accommodate the most expensive ones they sell.

Now, we will look first at the top 10 bestsellers, including the number of copies of each currently offered on the AbeBooks site.

10. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. 264 copies offered, priced from $2.30 to $594.

9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling. 835 copies priced $4.49-$7,125.

8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling. 1,332 copies from $1.00-$498,759.

7. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. 270 copies from $10.99-$490.

6. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. 269 copies from $5.71-$7,950.

5. The Purpose Driven Life, from Rick Warren. 1,441 copies from $1.00-$180.

4. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. 180 copies from $7.00-$138.

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling. 1,053 copies from $1.00-$8,300.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, by J.K. Rowling. 461 copies from $10.00-$5,292.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. 1,825 copies from $1.00-$350.

Rare Book Monthly

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    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
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    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
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