Best-seller, best seller, or bestseller?

I recently took part in a book launch to help out another author, and I learned SOOO much! I am in the midst of planning the book launch for my next book (expected to be released in March 2012) and I had no idea how much work was put into a book launch. I defiantly will be better equipped to plan my own! Besides learning the ins and outs of a successful book launch, I learned a little grammar along the way. The book I was helping with (Forgiveness Formula by CJ and Shelly Hitz) became an Amazon best-seller in one of its categories before the day was half over, and remained number one for almost a week. Which led to the debate of best-seller, best seller, or bestseller?

It took a bit of research to find out the correct way to write it, and all three of the above are widely used and accepted. Amazon has its “Best Seller” lists, I read several press releases announcing other ‘bestselling’ titles, yet grammar sites all say that the correct version is actually ‘best-seller’ as the word ‘best’ is modifying ‘selling’ not describing it. (source)

However the reasoning for needing the hyphen is a bit debatable. If the book is a best-seller, would it not also be the best in its category? So both ways would technically be correct. And furthermore, every dictionary site that I have used that includes best-seller, also lists bestseller under the same definition, and when I was growing up words only qualified as words if they were in the dictionary, and since they both are…

What do you think? Best-seller, bestseller, or best seller?


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