Better World Books' bestseller list: more classics than new titles(Read article summary)
Better World Books' 2011 bestseller list: everything from 'The Shack' to 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
Readers who have browsed other bestsellers-of-2011 lists may do a double take when faced with that of the website Better World Books. Most other 2011 bestseller lists donâ€™t have â€śHolesâ€ť by Louis Sachar, which originally came out in 2000, or â€śAnimal Farmâ€ť by George Orwell, which was first published back in 1946.
That's because Better World Books is a business of a different kind. Whenever a book â€“ either new or used â€“ is bought on Better World Books, the company donates an additional one through either Books for Africa and Feed the Children. The website gathers used books through college campuses and libraries, among other sources, and their profits help support organizations including various libraries, the National Center for Family Literacy, and Room to Read.
So whatâ€™s their number one book? Better World Booksâ€™ bestseller for the year was the 2007 Christian novel â€śThe Shackâ€ť by William Paul Young, a book which has been described as a "guy-meets-God" novel.
Other books on the 2011 Better Worlds Books bestseller list are also big hits from recent years, including â€śThe Kite Runnerâ€ť by Khaled Hosseini, which first came out in 2004 and was the third bestselling book, and â€śEat, Pray, Loveâ€ť by Elizabeth Gilbert, the memoir which first came out in 2007 and is number six on Better World Booksâ€™ list. â€śStrengths Finder 2.0â€ť by Tom Rath, a non-fiction book that was released in 2010 and details how to identify your own personal strengths to function better in a workplace environment, came in at number ten on the list, and number fourteen was â€śThe Helpâ€ť by Kathryn Stockett, the runaway bestseller about African-American maids in 1960s Mississippi. At number eighteen was â€śThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,â€ť the mystery by Swedish author Stieg Larsson which was first released in the US in 2008.
But the rest of the book list is dominated by perennial favorites rather than new releases. The fourth bestselling book was Harper Leeâ€™s 1960 classic â€śTo Kill A Mockingbird,â€ť and right below it at number five is â€śLord of the Fliesâ€ť by William Golding, the story published in 1959 of a group of British boys who wash ashore on a deserted island.
And it should come as no surprise that Harry Potter books are sprinkled throughout the list, though interestingly, the first three books are the only ones that made it on â€“ perhaps new readers or families are still discovering the series. â€śHarry Potter and the Sorcererâ€™s Stoneâ€ť made it to number eight on the list, while â€śHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secretsâ€ť landed at number eleven and â€śHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanâ€ť came in at number seventeen.
Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.