Finally doing the business?

<p>After weeks of nervous nail-biting, there is finally some festive cheer for publishers and retailers. Last week, book sales climbed a colossal 29% week on week, to 8.1 million copies sold&mdash;the biggest week-on-week boost since <i>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows</i> (Bloomsbury) hit the shelves in hardback almost two and a half years ago.</p>
<p>Undeniably in part due to the Borders &ldquo;closing down&rdquo; sales, &pound;61.9m was spent at UK book retailers during the seven days to 5th December, up almost a third on the previous week and up 3% on the same week last year. It is all the more impressive given that J K Rowling&rsquo;s <i>The Tales of Beedle the Bard</i> (Bloomsbury) hit the shelves on 4th December last year, taking a &pound;1.4m slice out of the market that week. Strip this unique title out of the data and last week&rsquo;s sales would be up almost 10% in volume terms. And the positive news doesn&rsquo;t stop there.</p>
<p>After an October and November of public indifference, there are firm signs that the hardback non-fiction sector is bouncing back. According to Nielsen BookScan data, sales of the top 100 titles within that sector (which accounted for almost a seventh of all sales) were up 45% week on week.It is a much stronger boost than the 19% hike enjoyed by the comparative top 100 across the same two weeks last year.</p>
<p>However, sales within the sector are still down on last year, with many celebrities continuing to struggle. Ex-&ldquo;Byker Grove&rdquo; stars Ant &amp; Dec&rsquo;s <i>Ooh! What a Lovely Pair</i> (Michael Joseph) may have enjoyed a 43% week-on-week sales boost last week but it was the only celebrity memoir to sell more than 30,000 copies. Three (by Paul O&rsquo;Grady, Julie Walters and Dawn French) all sold more than 60,000 copies in the same week last year. </p>
<p>A 43% boost is not bad, but DJ Chris Evans saw sales of his memoir, <i>It&rsquo;s Not What You Think </i>(HarperCollins), more than double following his stint as the &ldquo;star in a reasonably priced car&rdquo; on &ldquo;Top Gear&rdquo;. Also doubling its sales week on week was Delia Smith&rsquo;s <i>Delia&rsquo;s Happy Christmas </i>(Ebury) following her return to Christmas-time telly for the first time since 1990.</p>
<p>So, some good news at last for booksellers?</p>
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