I learned about this through the fine website MobyLives, which you can check out here.
Amazon posted their Hall of Fame of Authors. Now before folks get crazy debating the merits of this author or that author, let’s point out that Amazon calculated their Hall of Fame purely based on sales totals. So maybe it should be better named the Hall of Green or the Hall of Sale. Debating the literary merits of these authors is for another day, another discussion, and a whole lot of server space, but the list does reveal a lot about our buying habits.
Gene Simmons of Kiss always says that you don’t measure the impact a band has on a culture by how many stars they receive in a Rolling Stone review. You don’t measure their place in a culture by what the critics think of them (don’t forget, the critics loooooved ELP, can you name me one of their songs? Other than Lucky Man), and you don’t measure their place in history based on what some grad student’s dissertation says. Simmons claims you measure the band’s impact on sales. That’s the only objective measurement for how important a record was to the culture.
Now, you might disagree with the Demon, but it is an interesting argument. And it’s a concept that Stephen King echoed a few years ago when he accepted his National Book Award and he said that writers need to remember they are a part of their culture, not separate from it. Anyway, here are the top 10 authors in the Amazon Hall of Fame, based on sales:
1. JK Rowling
2. Spencer Johnson
3. Nora Roberts
4. Dan Brown
5. Dr. Seuss
6. John Grisham
7. Stephen King
8. J.R.R. Tolkien
9. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins
10. Jim Collins
The Amazon page for these authors and the rest of the Hall of Fame features essay and tidbits about many of the authors so check it out here.