Book sales slump £1m in riot-riddled week

Spending on printed books slumped £1.1m last week, as the UK riots caused retailers to shut stores early and the public to avoid the high street.

Although bookshops remained largely unscathed during the rioting, spending slumped by 4% on the previous week, to £26.6m, and was down 9% (£2.6.m) on the same week last year. With digital books continuing to steal sales from traditional booksellers, spending on printed books last week hit a six-year low for the month of August.

According to BookScan’s Top 5,000 bestseller list data, sales of novels last week were down 18% year-on-year, while non-fiction and children’s books were slightly ahead of 2010 levels.

The bestselling book in another difficult week for booksellers was David Nicholls’ One Day (Hodder) which scored sales of 41,346 copies across all editions. However, as the majority of its sales were split between the original mass-market paperback edition (23,569) and the new film tie-in edition (17,630), it is Lee Child that in fact tops The Bookseller’s single edition-based Official UK Top 50.

Child's Jack Reacher thriller, Worth Dying For (Bantam), sold 39,053 copies last week—up 21% on the previous week. It has recently been announced that 5ft 7in Tom Cruise has been cast to play 6ft 5in Reacher in the forthcoming adaptation of Child’s One Shot.

The February 2010-published edition of One Day takes second position overall, with Dawn French's A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Penguin) holding third place week-on-week.
New entries into the Official UK Top 50 include Robyn Young’s Insurrection (Hodder)—the Oxford-born novelist’s first book since supermarket bestseller, Requiem (2008)—and Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One (Windmill)—the latest book to go under the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club spotlight.

Sales of the W H Smith-exclusive series since the promotion began in May now stand at 525,000 copies across all UK book retailers. Sarah Winman’s When God Was a Rabbit (Headline Review) is the only other member of the club in the Official UK Top 50 this week.

The latest Channel Four/More Four “TV Book Club”, meanwhile, drew to a close on Sunday, with sales of the books featured in the series totalling 150,000 copies across the eight weeks. Not a single member managed to earn Official UK Top 50 status during its broadcast run

TV chef Rick Stein’s Spain (BBC) clocks up a fourth week atop the Hardback Non-fiction charts despite the fact his new series officially ended on 4th August. Spain has now spent four weeks at the top of the chart. The last BBC-published spin-off to achieve the feat was Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey in July/August 2009.

Celebrity biographer Chas Newkey-Burden’s biography of Amy Winehouse (John Blake) débuts as the highest new entry in this week’s Paperback Non-fiction bestseller list, helped by a “£2.99 with any magazine” offer at W H Smith.

James Patterson’s seventh novel co-written with Michael Ledwidge, Now You See Her (Century), climbs one place to the summit of this week’s Original Fiction chart, helped by deep-discounts at major book retailers. The £18.99 novel sold for just £7.74 on average last week—a discount of 59%. It is the 24th time Patterson has topped the chart in the past five years—more than any other author.

In children's, Andrea Pinnington’s Pirate Pete’s Potty débuts in second position in this week Pre-school chart more than two years after it first hit the shelves. Sales of the book, as well as its female companion Princess Polly’s Potty, have rocketed in the past fortnight thanks to DJ Chris Evans recommending the potty-training book on his BBC Radio Two show. He told listeners: “It’s got this great little button in the corner so that you can cheer every time Pirate Pete does his business on the potty. The applause button is a stroke of genius”.

Picture credit: Du Tour Du Monde