Book sales spring back after Royal Wedding week

Book sales spring back after Royal Wedding week

Book sales bounced back after a dire seven days in the week of the Royal Wedding in which physical book sales plummeted to an eight-year low.

According to Nielsen BookScan data, spending in the seven days to 7th May was up 11.9% (£2.5m) week-on-week to £23.2m, but sales were nonetheless down 8.9% (£2.3m) on the same week last year.

The bestselling book in a better week for booksellers was the mass-market edition of Patricia Cornwell’s 18th Kay Scarpetta thriller, Port Mortuary (Sphere), which sold 28,632 copies in its first full week in UK bookshops. It scores the US novelist her seventh consecutive Official UK Top 50 chart-topper in a row, as her previous six Scarpetta stories all reached the summit of the chart.

While Jilly Cooper’s Jump! (Corgi) falls one place to second position, Charlaine Harris’ 11th Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Reckoning (Gollancz) débuts in third position thanks to one of the strongest opening-week sales from a hardback novel in 2011.

Amazon pre-orders and a half-price spot at Waterstone’s helped the novel sell 24,000 copies in its first week in bookshops, beating Harris’ previous personal best (set by Dead in the Family last year), by almost 1,300 copies.

A half-price book-of-the-week spot at W H Smith helps Peter Robinson’s Bad Boy (Hodder), his 19th Inspector Banks thriller, into fourth position, while a “£2.99 if you buy the Times” spot at the same retailer moves Jed Rubenfeld’s The Death Instinct (Headline) into fifth place.

New entries into the Official UK Top 50 this week include the mass-market edition of Lord Alan Sugar’s What You See is What You Get (Pan), the release of his memoir being perfectly timed with the new series of “The Apprentice” hitting BBC screens, and romantic novelist Milly Johnson’s fifth novel, Here Come the Girls (Simon & Schuster). Johnson, the winner of the Barnsley-set episodes of Channel Four’s “Come Dine with Me” last year, hits the chart in 25th position, having smashed her previous weekly sale personal best by almost 2,000 copies.

Reports during Royal Wedding week that Catherine Middleton’s mum, Carole, has been a follower of The Dukan Diet (Hodder) gave sales of Pierre Dukan’s books a 133% sales boost week-on-week. The original diet guide re-enters the Official UK Top 50 (in 24th place) for the first time in 11 months.

However, there’s no place in the Top 50 for any of the rush-released Royal Wedding titles as yet. Andrew Morton’s William and Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding (Michael O’Mara) sold 3,408 in its few days on sale last week, and was the 76th bestselling book of the week. Ian Lloyd’s The Royal Wedding Album (Carlton), meanwhile, sold 1,063 copies, for 291st position overall, while Sean Smith’s Kate: A Biography (Simon & Schuster) sold 570 copies for 569th place in the charts.