TWiC #51: Week Ending 18th December
22.12.10 | Philip Stone
So there you have it. Jamie Oliver is the Christmas number one. An incredible achievement. Albeit a little cliché given he's done it twice before. But now he's done it for a third time - one better than Ms Delia Smith and one better then whoever it that "writes" ("compiles" perhaps?) Guinness World Records.
Last week, then, his Jamie's 30-minute Meals sold 149,000-odd copies, bringing it's life sales to 1.1m, which makes it officially the bestselling hardback non-fiction book since records began. And it ain't even been on sale for three months yet :O
However, a word on the ol' "since records began" bit. Records began only as recently as 1998 and, well, a lot of hardback books were published before 1998. Like The Bible, for one, which no doubt has sold more copies in the UK than Jamie's 30-minute Meals since copies started rolling off that Caxton fellow's printing press in the late 15th century. And someone else with Godly traits, Delia Smith, whose Winter Collection (first published in 1995) has sold 2m copies and counting (according to Ebury, her publishers). Still, technicalities aside, Jamie's 30-minute Meals' 1.1m life sales clocked up in under three months is an impressive achievement - a record breaking one, regardless.
The Surprise Christmas Hit of the Year, the meerkat's A Simples Life was the next most popular purchase at UK booksellers last week, which presumables means a lot of peoples will be getting copies of famous meerkat book in Christmas stocking. And presumables a lot of peoples will be return precious meerkat memoir to bookshops all down and up the Uniteds Kingdom after Christmas time for exchanging with proper book instead. Just take book to man behind till, ask to exchanged for Marcel Proust, get Proust book. Simples!
Which got me thinking, what is the most returned book in the UK? And I'm not counting libraries, here, I mean returned to bookshops in exchange for something else. Perhaps something like Franzen's Freedom, or Frey's A Million Little Pieces or How Opal Mehta... for reasons that the texts contained printing errors/was full of sh*t/was full of plagiarism. Or perhaps it isa massive-selling Chrimbo book like a Guinness World Records or a Peter Kay? Or Perhaps it is an A-Z of London bought by peeps who only need to use it once.
Or perhaps it is Lilian Harry's PS, I Love You - returned by folk who were looking for Cecelia Ahern's book of the same name? Or perhaps it is The Da Vinci Code as lots of peeps have already read it about five years ago so please, please stop giving me copies for Christmas or my birthday or maybe I haven't read it at all and I'll buy a copy to see what all the fuss is about and when I get back home I discover oh I already had a copy of The Da Vinci Code on the shelf after all and I must have read it already and oh yeah I do remember reading it as it was the story of that Tom Hanks chap running around cathedrals and symbols and whatnot and something to do with Mary.