The author got a lot of money from his best-seller


The author got a lot of money from his best-selling book


The author got a lot of money from his best-seller book

Which one is correct?

  • 2
    They're syntactically different, but all are commonly used and mean the same (i.e. - there isn't a concept of "correct/incorrect" here). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '16 at 17:08

Your question centers around

best-seller (noun)
best-selling (adjective)

So to describe an author's book

He has a best-seller.
He has a best-selling book.

are both correct.

"Best-seller book" would not be correct, however

His book which is a best-seller.

is correct.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    That's my initial hunch, too, but I see that "best seller" is sometimes used as an adjective (often hyphenated). Examples: His research was continued by the International Motor Vehicle Program at MIT, which later produced the international best-seller book called “The Machine That Changed the World” in 1990; – J.R. Jun 12 '16 at 20:41
  • 1
    Best selling author Gary Chapman introduced the concept of love languages in his New York Times Best Seller book “The Five Love Languages..."; Piketty, the author of the best-seller book 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century', is a faculty at the Paris School of Economics. Perhaps it's an accepted informalism? – J.R. Jun 12 '16 at 20:43
  • I agree with the thrust of this answer that best-selling book is the better term. @J.R. If something is a New York Times Best Seller, the whole five word string is the adjective in use to modify book, although why book is specified is beyond me; perhaps to distinguish it from a "best seller" audio. If a book appears on a "Best Seller List*, I guess the generic "best seller book" is okay, but I don't like it much. Otherwise, "best-selling book* is what I'd expect to describe a book that sold or is selling well without reference to it being named a "best seller" by a publication. – Alan Carmack Jun 12 '16 at 20:57

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