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Randomness at Work

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The paper analyses the processes through which a market rejects or adopts a book as a bestseller. It begins with Malcolm Gladwell’s description of bestseller adoption processes and uses the Slovene book market as a case study. It is shown that Gladwell’s factors—stickiness, law of the few, and social context—provide only a descriptive model that cannot be used for in-depth analysis of the forces that turn a book into a bestseller. The paper stresses the differences between books that have the highest turnover and highest sales, books that appear on bestseller lists, and books that are the most read. It is also shown that book categorization, distribution channels, and the absorption volume of the market heavily determine both the visibility of a book and its predisposition to climb into a bestseller chart. The paper ends by concluding that understanding the logic of book markets is a precondition for understanding the broader textual and social reasons that determine which books are considered bestsellers and which are not.


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