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Pratchett's Snuff snaffles top spot with ease

Terry Pratchett’s Snuff (Doubleday) has become one of the fastest-selling novels since records began, shifting 54,687 copies at UK book retail outlets in its three days on sale last week.

Helped by extensive pre-orders and a £5 deal at Tesco, Pratchett's 39th Discworld novel has the biggest opening week sale from a hardback adult-audience novel since Transworld stablemate Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (Bantam Press) in 2009. Along with Brown, only one other novel has sold more copies in its first week on shelves since records began: Thomas Harris’ Hannibal (Heinemann) sold 58,300 copies in four days after its release in June 1999.

Transworld managing director Larry Finlay said: "[Pratchett] is now firmly established as one of the nation’s most important and widely read authors, with so much to say about the world in which we live. I couldn’t be more delighted that with Snuff, Terry now joins a very select band of record-breakers."

James Patterson and Howard Roughan's Don't Blink (Arrow) was the second bestselling book of the week, scoring sales of 25,139 copies helped by a half-price "book of the week" spot in W H Smith. The latest edition of Guinness World Records enjoyed a small sales boost week-on-week, and climbs one position into third place in the Official UK Top 50.

Snuff was one of more than 200 hardbacks to hit the shelves on Thursday last week (13th October), in what was another huge day in the 2011 publishing calendar. Books released on Thursday that earn bestseller status this week include Ian Rankin’s The Impossible Dead (Orion); Cecelia Ahern’s The Time of My Life (HarperCollins); Danielle Steel’s Hotel Vendome (Bantam Press); the Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies (Weidenfeld); and the latest edition of Ripley’s Believe it or Not (Random House). A few others, including Jeremy Clarkson’s Round the Bend; Rob Brydon’s Small Man in a Book (both Michael Joseph); Michael Bublé’s Onstage, Offstage (Bantam Press); and Kirstie Allsopp’s Craft (Hodder), narrowly miss out on places in The Bookseller's bestseller lists.

However, the 13th October proved unlucky for some, with a few new titles getting off to comparatively slow starts in a competitive market. New books by “Top Gear” star James May, TV presenter Tess Daly, Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave and broadcaster Terry Wogan all failed to sell more than 500 copies in their first week on shelves last week.

As book fans look to the announcement of the Man Booker prize tonight (18th October), A D Miller's Snowdrops (Atlantic) has entered the Top 20 Mass-market Fiction chart for the first time. It sold 6,685 copies last week, which is more than double the next most popular shortlistee, Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie. The Canongate title sold 2,864 physical copies last week.

Overall, hardback book sales through Nielsen BookScan’s Top 5,000 bestseller list for the seven days to 15th October were up 15% week-on-week. However, due to a big decline in sales of paperback novels (down 10% week-on-week), overall book sales fell 1.9% week-on-week, to £33.8m overall.

Sales of printed books also continue to struggle in comparison to last year, with last week’s sales down 8.4% on the comparative week in 2010. Although sales of children’s books are relatively flat year-on-year, spending on non-fiction is down 10% and spending on fiction is down almost 20%, according to top 5,000 data.

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Bloody good job, too - the greatest living English novelist, with no exceptions.

A fantastic performance from Pratchett and good to see a retailer trying to drive volume into a terrible physical books market, but sales through the top 5000 tcm are desperate with sales -10% year on year. Jamie Oliver is now running at a third of the sales volumes of 30-minute meals - a £400k drop decline year on year. Lots of retailers sitting on lots of stock....

There is a bright side - be thankful for picture books and Julia Donaldson - picture books sales up by 25%, and Donaldson up by a third - with less discounting year on year.

I think JK Rowling would have something to say about that.

JKR vs TP for greatest living english novelist? Hmm. I think they would both disagree...Best writer of popular fiction may be more like it.

In my mind JK has had only one idea - but WHAT an idea eh?
Terry P has given us a VAST body of work. He brings a smart and satirical humor to his work that is very different from JK's approach to writing. Her books are without a doubt compelling and have captivated a worldwide audience.

But to be a great writer, one needs to write. JK seems to have no interest in doing anything further. TP has been driven to create for years. Only time will tell if Ms Rowling will find that creative drive.

Terry Pratchett as greatest living english satirical novelist - that I think is a defensible position. JK Rowling as most successful living english novelist - certainly.

JKR vs TP for greatest living english novelist? Hmm. I think they would both disagree...Best writer of popular fiction may be more like it.

In my mind JK has had only one idea - but WHAT an idea eh?
Terry P has given us a VAST body of work. He brings a smart and satirical humor to his work that is very different from JK's approach to writing. Her books are without a doubt compelling and have captivated a worldwide audience.

But to be a great writer, one needs to write. JK seems to have no interest in doing anything further. TP has been driven to create for years. Only time will tell if Ms Rowling will find that creative drive.

Terry Pratchett as greatest living english satirical novelist - that I think is a defensible position. JK Rowling as most successful living english novelist - certainly.

Well, that certainly puts Alan Hollinghurst in his place.

Bloody good job, too - the greatest living English novelist, with no exceptions.

I think JK Rowling would have something to say about that.

Well, that certainly puts Alan Hollinghurst in his place.

A fantastic performance from Pratchett and good to see a retailer trying to drive volume into a terrible physical books market, but sales through the top 5000 tcm are desperate with sales -10% year on year. Jamie Oliver is now running at a third of the sales volumes of 30-minute meals - a £400k drop decline year on year. Lots of retailers sitting on lots of stock....

There is a bright side - be thankful for picture books and Julia Donaldson - picture books sales up by 25%, and Donaldson up by a third - with less discounting year on year.

JKR vs TP for greatest living english novelist? Hmm. I think they would both disagree...Best writer of popular fiction may be more like it.

In my mind JK has had only one idea - but WHAT an idea eh?
Terry P has given us a VAST body of work. He brings a smart and satirical humor to his work that is very different from JK's approach to writing. Her books are without a doubt compelling and have captivated a worldwide audience.

But to be a great writer, one needs to write. JK seems to have no interest in doing anything further. TP has been driven to create for years. Only time will tell if Ms Rowling will find that creative drive.

Terry Pratchett as greatest living english satirical novelist - that I think is a defensible position. JK Rowling as most successful living english novelist - certainly.

JKR vs TP for greatest living english novelist? Hmm. I think they would both disagree...Best writer of popular fiction may be more like it.

In my mind JK has had only one idea - but WHAT an idea eh?
Terry P has given us a VAST body of work. He brings a smart and satirical humor to his work that is very different from JK's approach to writing. Her books are without a doubt compelling and have captivated a worldwide audience.

But to be a great writer, one needs to write. JK seems to have no interest in doing anything further. TP has been driven to create for years. Only time will tell if Ms Rowling will find that creative drive.

Terry Pratchett as greatest living english satirical novelist - that I think is a defensible position. JK Rowling as most successful living english novelist - certainly.