Grisham top as children's book sales soar

Thanks in part to a "better than half price" deal at Waterstone's, John Grisham tops the Official UK Top 50 for the first time in five and a half years. The Confession (Arrow), the Arkansas-born legal thriller writer's 23rd novel, sold 35,294 copies in its first full week at UK booksellers, at an average selling price of £4.05—a 49.3% discount off the mass-market edition's £7.99 r.r.p.

Bill Bryson's "Short History of Private Life", At Home (Black Swan), climbs three places into second position thanks to sales of 23,352 in its first full week in stores, while John le Carré's Our Kind of Traitor (Penguin), last week's "£2.99 with the Times" deal at W H Smith, climbs eight places into third.

Although overall book sales fell 2.2% week-on-week (to £25.1m), spending on children's books soared nine percent week-on-week, according to Nielsen BookScan Top 5,000 data, as schools broke for half-term. Children's authors benefitting include Jeff Kinney, whose Diary of a Wimpy Kid series enjoyed a 20% uplift week-on-week, Rick Riordan (total sales up 9%), Jacqueline Wilson (up 17%), Anthony Horowitz (up 12%), Darren Shan (up 26%), and Octonauts author "Meomi" (up 7%).

Similarly, the opportunities for family days out in half-term week gave sales of numerous souvenir guidebooks big boosts. The Imperial War Museum guides to IWM Duxford, London, North, HMS Belfast and the Churchill War Rooms sold a combined 4,630 copies last week (up 90% on the previous week), while sales of the Natural History Museum and English Heritage-published guidebooks in this week's Top 5,000 bestseller list were up 190% and 60% respectively.

With Father's Day approaching, numerous dad-themed titles chart in this week's Top 5,000 bestseller list, including: Alison Ritchie's Me and My Dad (Little Tiger), Ladybird's Peppa Pig: My Daddy, Cathy Phelan's I'm Glad You're My Dad (Campbell) and Alison Reynolds' Why I Love My Dad (Five Mile Press). A new "Top Gear" spin-off has also begin to fly from bookshop shelves: Top Gear Drivers' Handbook (BBC).

In the seven days leading up to Father's Day last year, Top Gear: The Alternative Highway Code (BBC) sold 11,600 copies at UK booksellers, while books by the three presenters (Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond) sold a combined 20,100 copies.

Since records began in 1998, a massive £61m has been spent on "Top Gear" spin-offs and books by the trio.

Despite the children's and Father's Day books boon, spending at UK booksellers in the seven days to 4th June was down 5.4% on the same week last year—when Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Atom), hit the shelves and sold 89,549 copies in just 19 hours.