This paper analyzes how cultural classification has changed, during the period 1970-2007, in France, Germany and the United States for one particular case: fiction book bestseller lists. Drawing on recent studies in the material production (the publishing field) and symbolic production (the literary field) of literature, I examine the impact of the market logic and cultural consecration on the content of bestseller lists by (a) mapping trends, (b) comparing countries and (c) conducting multivariate analyses. To do so, I offer a nested, multilevel approach that attends to producers, authors and product types. The results show that, in all three countries, authors who have properties that signal the market logic become more dominant, while retrospectively consecrated authors less often make the lists. This trend is stronger for the US than for Germany and France. The differences between the latter two countries decline over time.

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ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Poetics : Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts
Department of Media and Communication

Verboord, M. (2011). Market logic and cultural consecration in French, German and American bestseller lists, 1970-2007. Poetics : Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts, 39(4), 290–315. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2011.05.002