Naming the 'evergreens'

<p>When I was helping to compile our <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/in-depth/feature/64194-the-12-books-you-mus... on Nielsen&rsquo;s &lsquo;evergreen&rsquo; books</a> &ndash; titles that have never, since records began, fallen out of BookScan&rsquo;s top 5000 &ndash; I asked a number of people to guess the 12 titles on the list. I canvassed fellow Bookseller staffers, book trade folk and customers at bookshops.</p>
<p>Not one came up with any of the titles on the chart. The usual answers were <i>Pride and Prejudice</i>, <i>Lord of the Ring</i><i>s</i>, <i>War and Peace</i>, etc. All worthy books, all not on the chart for a number of reasons which are explained in detail in the feature.</p>
<p>What I like about the chart is there is a bit of a &ldquo;what the hell?&rdquo; feel to it. I think you would have had to be an obsessive Top 5000 anorak (in fairness I didn&rsquo;t ask our charts editor Phil Stone) to tell me that James Redfield&rsquo;s <i>The Celestine Prophecy</i> was an evergreen book or, for that matter, Nelson Mandela&rsquo;s <i>Long Walk to Freedom</i>.</p>
<p>We also run down the next generation of evergreens, an additional 18 titles published since 1995 that have also not fallen out of the charts. This list, quite frankly, is a bit dullsville, with a lot of authors you would expect and J K Rowling and Dan Brown taking 11 out of the 18 titles.</p>
<p>Our first evergreen list was able to salt in during those heady days of the Net Book Agreement, while the second evergreen list is obviously driven to some extent by high discounting.</p>
<p>Still, it might make Canongate&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/64145-bothered-by-the-booker.html">Jamie Byng smile in his week of Booker angst</a>; Yann Martel&rsquo;s <i>Life of Pi</i> is on the chart, shifting just over one million copies since being published in 2003.</p>