Atkinson takes top, kids books climb and the Beeb boosts sales

Atkinson takes top, kids books climb and the Beeb boosts sales

Kate Atkinson has knocked Jamie Oliver off the top of the charts, thanks largely to a spot in W H Smith's "£2.99 if you buy the Times" link-save promotion, with Started Early, Took My Dog (Black Swan) the new Official UK Top 50 chart-topper.

The book sold 36,516 copies in the seven days to 26th February, giving Atkinson her first number one since February 2009, when her When Will There Be Good News? topped the bestseller lists thanks to a "Richard and Judy's New Position" TV book club boost. Sales of Started Early were also helped by a spot in Sainsbury's book club, and a place in Waterstone's till-point link-save promo.

Harlan Coben's Caught (Orion) climbs one place to second position overall, while Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 30-minute Meals (Michael Joseph) falls two places to third position having spent 17 weeks at the summit of The Official UK Top 50.

Dr Miranda MacQuitty's Kids Only guide to the Natural History Museum is the highest new/re-entry in this week's Official UK Top 50 having received a 393% week-on-week sales boost in the week that many schools across the UK broke up for half-term.

It was one of many children's books to enjoy sales boosts—93 of the top 100 bestselling children's books last week saw their sales climb week-on-week. There were other solid sales boosts for the likes of Moshi Monsters MonSTAR Rooms Handbook (Sunbird, up 57% to 1,972 copies sold), LEGO Star Wars Villains Ultimate Sticker Book (UK, up 63% to 1,750) and the entirety of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (Puffin, up 33% to 48,600). Total sales of children's books through Nielsen BookScan's Top 5,000 bestseller list were up 19% week-on-week, to 850,000 copies sold, with spending up 25%, to £4.1m.

Once again, the books featured in Sebastian Faulks' "Faulks on Fiction" BBC series enjoyed sales boosts week-on-week. According to Nielsen BookScan data, the books/authors featured in the third episode ("The Snob"), saw their sales climb by 27% in the week ending 26th February, with sales up 116% from the beginning of 2011.

Another BBC series‚ the Anne Robinson-fronted "My Life in Books", also gave book sales a significant boost. Numerous novels recommended by celebrity participants on the weekday show climbed at least 1,000 places in the bestseller lists week-on-week, including Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance (Faber), passionately recommended by Hardeep Singh Kohli who called it "simply the most beautiful book I've ever read". Sales of the book jumped 372% week-on-week, to 1,444 copies sold across all editions, with Faber's 2006-published paperback edition climbing 1,376 places up the charts and into this week's Top 20 Fiction Heatseekers chart.

There were also big sales boosts for the Peter Snow-recommended Mark Urban's Rifles (Faber, up 258% week-on-week), George McDonald Fraser's Flashman (HarperCollins, up 557%, recommended by Richard Bacon) and Cyril Hare's Tragedy at Law (Faber, up 963% week-on-week), a recommendation of P D James'.

Meanwhile, thanks to its BBC small-screen adaptation, two different editions of Winifred Holtby's South Riding earn places in this week's Heatseekers chart, while a new cookbook by BBC chef Raymond Blanc, Kitchen Secrets (Bloomsbury) debuts in the Top 20 Hardback Non-fiction chart, along with BBC spin-off Masterchef at Home (DK).

In total, £28.5m was spent at UK booksellers last week, up 2.7% week-on-week, and up 7.9% on the same week last year‚ the strongest week of year-on-year sales growth since the week ending 8th January 2011.