A Timeline of Record-Breaking Books
From “best-selling” to “most abandoned”…
When people talk about record books, they often mention the Guinness Book of Records. With its 60 years of history, the franchise has caught the imagination of multiple generations by documenting bizarre records like “Largest Jaffa Cake” and “Most Consecutive Stairs Climbed on the Head”.
China’s Li Longlong managed 36 stairs, in case you’re wondering.
But today, we don’t want to talk about record books. We want to talk about books that set records – the ones that sold the most, had the largest advance or the biggest print run. Ironically, Guinness World Records – as it’s been called since 1998 – still makes the list. So does an unauthorised biography of Simon Cowell.
Not all records are good, of course. No publisher wants to own the rights to the world’s slowest selling book. Slow sellers often get pulped, like the 2.5 million Mills & Boon novels that were used to build the M6 Toll Road. Other records are neither good nor bad, such as the record for the world’s longest novel or the youngest published author.
But it never hurts to be ambitious, and we think that the best way to break a record is to learn from the people who came before you. So we created this infographic to give you an idea of what’s had an impact throughout the years when it comes to sales, length, longevity and more.
If you’d like to feature our infographic on your own site, send us the link on Twitter so we can share it too. And if you can think of another record to add to the list then let us know!