Alex Ferguson returns to top spot

Alex Ferguson returns to top spot

Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has returned to the top of the UK book charts.

Sales of Ferguson's memoir, My Autobiography (Hodder & Stoughton), totalled 61,245 copies in the UK last week—a strong enough sale to send him back to the summit of the Official UK Top 50 following a two-week hiatus. My Autobiography's sale was actually marginally lower than the previous week, with sales falling 1% week on week, but it resisted the much sharper 20% sales decline suffered by last week's number one, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid tale, Hard Luck (Puffin).

Hard Luck sold 54,365 copies in the UK in the seven-day period ending 23rd November and takes second position in the chart, ahead of two titles on the rise: the latest edition of fact compendium Guinness World Records (Guinness) and David Jason's memoir, My Life (Century). Sales of the two titles both jumped by more than 20% week on week, to 36,944 copies sold and 28,623 sold respectively.

Six books join the Official UK Top 50 this week: two annuals (Moshi Monsters and Skylanders); two mass-market fiction titles (David Baldacci's The Hit and Lindsey Kelk's I Heart Christmas); Michael Connelly's new Mickey Haller thriller, The Gods of Guilt (Orion); and controversial former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson's autobiography, Undisputed Truth (HarperSport). It sold more in its first week on shelves in the UK (9,698 copies) than in the US (4,900).

Undisputed Truth takes 22nd position in this week's Official UK Top 50 and eighth place in a Top 20 Hardback Non-fiction chart that welcomes just one other new entry: Let Me Off At The Top!—the "classy life and other musings" of fictional Channel 4 News Team anchor Ron Burgundy, star of the "Anchorman" films.

The UK public have shown a fondness for fictional memoirs in recent years: Steve Coogan's alter-ego Alan Partridge's I, Partridge (Harper) has sold 230,000 copies since publication in 2011, while anthropomorphic meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, the star of price comparison site's advertising campaigns, earned bestseller status with his A Simples Life (Ebury) in 2010. It has sold 363,000 copies to date.

James Patterson's Merry Christmas, Alex Cross (Arrow) proved the bestselling novel in the UK last week, achieving sales of 18,891 copies. It spends a third consecutive week atop the Mass-Market Fiction bestseller chart—the publishing juggernaut's longest unbroken run at number one in the chart since October 2011.

After five weeks, Morrissey's reign at number one in the Paperback Non-fiction chart is over. Sales of his Autobiography (Penguin Classics) climbed marginally week on week, by 5% to 9,950 sold, but it was overtaken by Martin Sixsmith's Philomena (Pan). Sales of Philomena increased 20% week on week, sending publisher Pan Macmillan to the top of the Paperback Non-fiction chart for the first time in almost two and a half years.

In a rare feat, a self-published book earns bestseller status this week. Peter Stokes' No Ordinary Life, published via independent print-on-demand firm, sold 2,493 copies in the UK last week and takes 8th place in this week's Paperback Non-fiction chart. It is the war-time tale of Horace Stokes who, as he lay on his deathbed, gave his son, Peter, a dusty journal revealing his heroic exploits during the Second World War.

Helped by rising sales of hardback non-fiction books in the run-up to Christmas, the value of the printed book market jumped by £2.9m (+9%) week on week last week, to £35.6m. Volume sales increased 10.7%, to 4.5m, with average selling prices falling marginally, by 1.5% or 12p, to £7.82.