stack of bestsellers image
Rave Reviews: Bestselling Fiction in America
University of Virginia Library
stack of bestsellers image
Introduction to the Exhibit
The Taylor Collection of Popular American Fiction
Making the Bestseller List
Types of Bestsellers
Beyond the Book
Beyond the Book: At the Movies
Beyond the Book: Bestsellers in Other Forms
Beyond the Book: Gone with the Wind
Current Bestsellers
Readers Tell Their Stories
More on the Bestseller Phenomenon

Bestsellers: Beyond the Book

Bestsellers in Other Forms

Today we measure the popularity of a novel by its other manifestations. A successful book does not stay on the page for long but becomes a cultural phenomenon marked by spin-off movies, t-shirts, calendars, and action figures. With the sale of subsidiary rights, powerful stories reach far into society's consciousness.

As early as 1913, publishers marketed books by means of the movies based on them, hoping to lure moviegoers from the silver screen back to the bookshelf. Likewise, publishing houses sought new audiences with the publication of paperbacks, and by the 1950s, successful hardbound novels typically found their way into this cheaper version within a year. The lucrative paperback market often set off fierce bidding wars as publishers competed to buy the rights. This competition reached new heights in 1979 when the paperback rights to Judith Krantz's Princess Daisy sold for over three million dollars. The 1980s saw the creation of the contemporary approach to marketing popular novels with the sale of the rights to commercial products, such as movies, television programs, audio books, videos, toys, games, collectibles, and clothing.

This case displays some of the various forms and editions of William Faulkner's last novel, The Reivers. Regarded as his most accessible, the book was marketed to mass audiences and like many popular American novels, enjoyed brisk sales around the world. In addition to the translations shown here, The Reivers can also be read in Danish, Dutch, German, Finnish, French, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Polish.

The Reivers was selected by the Book of the Month Club and reached number ten on the 1962 annual bestseller list.

 

Faulkner, William. The Reivers: A Reminiscence. New York: Random House, 1962

From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

The Reivers. Dir. Mark Rydell. Perf. Steve McQueen, Rupert Crosse, Sharon Farrell, Will Greer, and Michael

Constantine. Fox Video, 1993.
On loan from Lynda Fuller Clendenning.

 

Faulkner, William. The Reivers. 1962. Read by Dick Hill. Audiocassette. Brilliance, 1994.


Gift of Random House for the William Faulkner Collection.

 

 

Cinema Center Films. Steve McQueen in "The Reivers." [New York]: n.p., 1969.


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

 

The Reivers in Arabic


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

 

The Reivers in Czech.


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

The Reivers in Greek.


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

The Reivers in Hungarian.


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

The Reivers in Italian.


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

The Reivers in Urdu.


From the William Faulkner Collection presented by Linton Reynolds Massey.

 

 

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