The backstory behind Best-Sellers -- Check out which books have spent the longest time on ''Publisher's Weekly'' list

By Gilbert Cruz
December 27, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

It only seems like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code has been a best-seller forever. Still, Code is inching up Publishers Weekly‘s list of novels that have spent the most weeks on its hardcover or paperback charts since 1980. At 368 weeks, Dr. Robert C. Atkins’ 1992 nonfiction hit New Diet Revolution is PW‘s all-time champ. (The New York Times, whose chart debuted in 1935, reports that Lloyd C. Douglas’ 1942 novel The Robe ruled in hardcover fiction for a record 178 weeks.) Below, PW‘s longest-chart-dwelling novels.

1. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY Robert James Waller (1992) 161 weeks
2. THE DA VINCI CODE Dan Brown (2003) 156 weeks+
3. THE NOTEBOOK Nicholas Sparks (1996) 154 weeks
4. ANGELS & DEMONS Dan Brown (2000) 152 weeks+
5. THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES Sue Monk Kidd (2002) 145 weeks