The 52 cards each feature a picture of a book cover on one side and a letter on the reverse side. The book covers have titles and illustrations the relate to specific themes. Each letter of the alphabet appears twice within the deck and five of those letters (J,Q,X,Y,Z) are yellow, indicating a higher value for those letters.
Each game of Best Sellers consists of ten rounds. During each round, one player is designated as EDITOR. The editor shuffles the deck and presents them to the player on his left. The player draws three cards, flipping over two of them to reveal the letters on the backs. The book title on the third card is the theme to be used for the round.
Once the book title and the two letters have been chosen, the editor starts the two minute timer and all players, including the editor, begin writing a story inspired by the title/theme of the book cover. Players earn points by including as many words as possible which begin with either of the two letters chosen for the round. Each word that begins with one of these letters is worth one point.
- Words only count the first time they are used.
- Words must be in complete sentences to count.
- Words beginning with yellow letters are worth 2 points.
When the two minutes are up, each player stops writing. Beginning with the player immediately to the editor's left, each participant reads his/her story and announces the number of points earned. The editor adds the totals to the score sheet for the round and awards the book card to the player with the most points. At the end of ten rounds, players total their scores from each round, add 3 points for every book card held to reach a grand total. The player with the most points at the end of ten rounds is the winner of the game.