Atkinson tops Rowling as customers stay cuckoo for Kate

Atkinson tops Rowling as customers stay cuckoo for Kate

Kate Atkinson has fended off competition from Robert (J K Rowling) Galbraith to retain the top spot in the UK Official Top 50 for the third straight week. Atkinson's Life After Life (Black Swan) sold 27,384 print units through Nielsen BookScan to the 15,505 Rowling's pseudonymous The Cuckoo's Calling (Sphere) shifted in its first week of sale.

Life After Life was the only book to sell over £100,000 last week through BookScan, and with an average selling price 20% higher than The Cuckoo's Calling, it more than doubled Galbraith's total in value terms (£137,000 to £63,000).  This is the first time Atkinson has topped the overall chart for three successive weeks; she previously chalked up two straight weeks for When Will There be Good News? (Black Swan) in February 2009.

A busy publication week had 10 new titles break in to the Top 50, with Susan Lewis' Truth About You (Arrow) and Mo Hayder's Poppet (Bantam) joining Rowling/Galbraith in the Top 10, selling 8,508 and 8,491 units respectively.
Two new Top 50 entries were helped by tie-ins. Robert Edsel's The Monuments Men, originally published in 2009, rose 2160% week on week to 3,462 units sold as the George Clooney-directed film was released in the UK.

Meanwhile, the William Collins edition of Solomon Northup's 1853 book Twelve Years a Slave rose 316 places to 37th spot on the list as Steve McQueen's film based on the book continues to pick up gongs during cinema's awards season. In addition to the William Collins version, the Penguin Classic Twelve Years a Slave sold 2,242 copies last week, while the Hesperus edition shifted 1,609 units.

Just over £22.6m worth of physical books were sold overall in UK bookshops last week, a slump of 2.2% on the previous week, and 6.2% down on the same week in 2013.