Pratchett retains pole as Barnes bags Booker boost

Terry Pratchett's Snuff (Doubleday) was narrowly the bestselling book in the UK last week, outselling Martina Cole's 18th novel, The Faithless (Headline), by just 768 copies.

Snuff, which last week became the fastest-selling hardback novel by a British novelist since records began, sold 31,904 copies in its first full week in UK bookshops, while Cole's The Faithless (Headline) scored sales of 31,136 copies in its opening week in stores.

The latter officially hit shelves on Tuesday last week, and helped by better-than-half-price deals at Amazon.co.uk and Sainsbury’s, sold more than 30,000 copies in just five days. It is the first time since October 2009 that two hardback adult-audience novels have sold more than 30,000 copies in the same week. However, there is a strong chance The Faithless could have been number one overall were it not for the fact that some retailers broke the strict embargo on the title with the result that it sold more than 1,000 copies the previous week.

James Patterson and Howard Roughan's Don't Blink (Arrow), last week's number two, falls one place to third position overall, despite seeing its sales increase 20% week-on-week, to 30,240 copies sold.

Following its Man Booker Prize for Fiction win, sales of Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending (Cape) soared 470% (12,000 copies) week-on-week and joins the Top 50 in sixth position. Its week-on-week sales surge is in line with recent winners Howard Jacobson and Hilary Mantel who saw sales of their Man Booker winning novels The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury) and Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) jump by 12,000 and 14,500 copies respectively in the week of their win.

Barnes' 14,534 sale smashes his previous hardback weekly sales record of 4,550 copies, and brings total sales of the novel to 42,100 copies. However, it has some way to go to beat the sales of his bestselling novel to date, Arthur & George, which has sold 315,500 copies across all print editions, helped by the fact it was included in Richard and Judy's 2006 Book Club.

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84: Book One and Book Two (Harvill Secker) débuts in 14th place in the Official UK Top 50 having scored one of the strongest ever opening-week sales for a translated work. Its 10,362 sale smashes Murakami’s previous hardback weekly sales record of 2,575, set by Kafka on the Shore in January 2005.

According to Nielsen BookScan top 5,000 bestseller list data, sales of hardback novels last week were up 15% on the previous week and up 10% on the same week last year. The non-fiction market, however, remains weak with not a single hardback non-fiction work enjoying a sale of more than 20,000 copies last week. Three achieved the feat in the comparative week last year, led by Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute Meals with a 69,342 sale.

Overall, sales of hardback non-fiction titles through the top 5,000 were flat week-on-week, but down a worrying 25% on last year. Due to the academic season drawing to a close, paperback non-fiction sales were down a massive 35% week-on-week, and are currently down approximately 10% on 2011 levels.

The children’s market, though, is a picture of health, with sales last week up 14% on the previous week and up 4% year-on-year. For the first time since December last year, an annual was the bestselling children’s book in the UK—The Beano Annual (D C Thomson) outselling Jacqueline Wilson’s Sapphire Battersea (Doubleday) by 7,324 copies to 6,530.

Thanks to his appearance on "The Jonathan Ross Show", David Walliams saw sales of his works rocket. Billionaire Boy enjoyed a week-on-week sales boost of 64%, Mr Stink saw its sales climb 67%, while The Boy in the Dress enjoyed a 79% fillip.   

Guinness World Records retains its position at the summit of the Hardback Non-fiction chart, while Lorraine Pascale takes over from Jamie Oliver as the bestselling TV chef. Her Home Cooking Made Easy (HarperCollins) outsold Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Great Britain (Michael Joseph) by almost 4,000 copies. Sales of the latter are currently tracking around 65% below last year’s mega-seller, 30-minute Meals, and 22% down on 2009’s Jamie’s America. However, as Oliver’s new TV series begins its run on Channel 4 this evening (25th October), one can expect to see him pushing for top spot in the charts next week.

In total, £31.6m was spent on printed books in the UK last week—down 6.4% week-on-week and down 8% on the same week last year.

Top Five Man Booker Win Boosts*
1) Wolf Hall (14,600)
2) The Finkler Question (12,000)
3) The Sense of an Ending (12,000)
4) Vernon God Little (8,100)
5) The White Tiger (7,600)

*Since records began in 1998. Volume increase in sales in week of win compared to previous week.