Ten titles have been nominated for The Bookseller’s inaugural Book of the Year, which recognises the publishing as well as the books, to be presented at The Bookseller Industry Awards at the Park Lane Hilton on 11th May:
Awful Auntie by David Walliams (HarperCollins)
Awful Auntie, a huge hit on publication, further built brand David Walliams, establishing him as the hottest British children’s writer around. The biggest-selling fiction title published in 2014, and the second-biggest seller of the year, with 553,921 print copies sold. Walliams was the UK’s second most valuable author in 2014.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (Harvard University Press)
Capital in the Twenty-First Century was one of the stand-out non-fiction titles of 2014 and an unexpected bestseller, capturing the economic mood of the nation at a pivotal moment in the austerity debate. It sold 40,000 copies through BookScan for an average price of £23.20, not bad for a translated economic tome by a relatively unknown French economist.
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (Penguin)
Girl Online was not without controversy, but can we ignore the fastest-selling début of all time? Penguin’s acquisition of “Zoella” kickstarted a publisher rush to acquire YouTube stars, with Faber, Simon & Schuster and Hodder & Stoughton all announcing deals. It sold 240,000 copies in 2014, but its wider impact can not be underestimated.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Jonathan Cape)
H is for Hawk wasn’t a particularly easy sell but there was conviction from the start. The Bookseller’s Caroline Sanderson says: “Cape didn’t just sit around and hope that it would win something, it worked really hard to get it into people’s hands.” The Costa Book of the Year and Samuel Johnson Prize winner, it sold 72,000 copies in hardback in 2014.
Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T S Eliot and illustrator Arthur Robins (Faber)
Macavity: The Mystery Cat marked an incredibly smart piece of heritage publishing, with Faber mining its (T S Eliot) assets and reworking this poem for children, with new illustrations from Arthur Robins. At a time when publishing’s “legacy” is up for debate, Faber has shown one way in which it can be reimagined for a new generation.
Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook (Egmont)
The Official Construction Handbook led the Minecraft stable, selling 580,119 units through Nielsen BookScan. Egmont developed the book with game producer Mojang, and hired specialist illustrators to replicate the look of the game in print. Four Minecraft titles were in last year’s overall top 10; this was the biggest and third-biggest book of the year.
Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley)
Persiana was the 60th-bestselling book by value—fourth in cookery—last year, mostly due to the strength of social media, press presence and retailer engagement—not TV, the catalyst for every other book in the cookery top 10. One of the most beautifully designed books of the year—or any year—it is a real investment.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Picador)
The Miniaturist was an example of superb publishing from the off. Early plain cover proofs, a large run with a wonderful jacket, numerous awards (for book and campaign) and bestsellerdom. Jessie Burton was the bestselling débutant of 2014, and The Miniaturist was the second-bestselling book of 2015’s first quarter, too.
The Pointless Book by Alfie Deyes (Blink Publishing)
The Pointless Book was the first true vlog-to-book success, a huge non-fiction bestseller for Blink, a new imprint from Bonnier launched to capitalise on the quicks shifts across social media. It sold just shy of 200,000 copies in 2014, and sparked a publishing genre. Signing sessions at Waterstones and London’s ExCeL broke all records, and The Pointless Book 2 was brought forward to capitalise on demand.
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
The Wake was an astonishing feat of topsy-turvy publishing: crowd-funded, written in Old-English and longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, it put Unbound on the map among the literati. It also altered the career trajectory of Paul Kingsnorth—who has signed a three-book deal with Faber—and, quite possibly, Unbound as well.