I guess the ultimate question is: "Do the e-publishing houses have their own standards of what constitutes a bestseller - or is there an industry standard for this?"
One of my e-publishers holds an actual event as a standard for the rest of her authors. One particular author worked so hard on promo in his hometown that he sold 400 trade paperback copies of his novel, that was also available in electronic format. The publisher holds this number for print copies as the company's topmost standard for "bestseller." It's the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest for this particular e-publisher. However, she also holds 50 electronic copies sold as a "well-selling" book. And 100 e-copies sold represents a bestseller. The sales would be within 2 or 3 quarters - or in some cases within a year. A 100 e-copies of any novel sold in one year would represent a "bestseller" for this publisher.
Then there is the other publisher who considers 500 electronic copies sold in about 2 quarters as a threshold for bringing the book out in print format. However, she will make an exception (don't know the background of this) and now and then she will send a book into print after having sold only 200 e-copies. I've four publishers but none of them have given me their standards on what constitutes a bestseller. It's probably the reason why I constantly wonder how those other authors advertise their novels as bestsellers. What do they base their 'bestseller' tag on? And WHERE exactly is the given book a bestseller? On the Amazon.com, on fictionwise, on other e-book distributor sites - or if it's in print, how many paperback copies did it sell?
In Canada, and in traditional print publishing, 5,000 copies sold constitutes a bestseller. In US, it has to be 10,000 or more. Once again, St. Martin's Press might have a higher threshold for declaring their novel a bestseller than Random House but once you're in this category, it hardly matters.
Where it does matter, is in e-publishing and for all the e-pubbed writers, like me.
So...what is your understanding/take on the issue? What constitutes a bestseller for you? Who has the authority to declare any e-pubbed novel a bestseller and who keeps such statistics? I'm sure many of you have followed the NCP saga - and I am one of their authors - and therefore know that NCP no longer provides any numbers sold to their authors. They simply send a royalty check for copies sold during any particular quarter. The author is left to ponder just what does the dollar amount represent in terms of number of sales. It's also a mystery as where did these sales come from. Thanks for any input. Edita.