Bookshops suffer post-Easter sales drop

Bookshops suffer post-Easter sales drop

Printed book sales in the UK fell by more than 15% last week, as the established post-Easter sales slump hit booksellers. Nielsen BookScan data reveals spending on physical books totalled £20.6m in the seven-day period ending 6th April—the lowest weekly level since May last year.

Sales were down 15.4% (£3.8m) on the previous week and down 19.5% (£5m) on the same week last year, although the value of the market was down a shallower 6.8% (£1.5m) when quantified against the comparative post-Easter week last year (ending 14th April).

Across the entire Easter holiday fortnight, sales were down 5.7% (£2.7m) against the comparative period in 2012, although up 2.4% (£1.1m) on the previous two-week period.

Roughly half of the year-on-year shortfall can be accounted for by a drastic drop in sales of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy—the adaptation of the first instalment of which hit UK cinema screens in March last year. BookScan data reveals sales of the three books in her dystopian trilogy were down 94%, or £1.5m, over the Easter holiday period in comparison this year in comparison to 2012.

Despite a 32% fall in sales week on week, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (Phoenix) retains pole position in the Official UK Top 50. It sold 14,993 copies at UK book retail outlets—the lowest figure from an Official UK Number One since Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel, Cabin Fever (Puffin), which sold little over 12,000 copies in a trading hour-reduced post-Christmas week in 2011 (ending 31st December).

The mass-market edition of Joanne Harris' Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé (Black Swan) climbs two places into second position in the Official UK Top 50, with Jackie Collins' The Power Trip (Simon & Schuster) climbing nine places into third spot.

New entries into the Top 50 include Julian Barnes' semi-autobiographical Levels of Life (Cape), Jon Ronson's collected non-fiction, Lost at Sea (Picador), and actress Gwyneth Paltrow's second cookbook, It's All Good (Sphere).

The latter débuts in 33rd position in this week's Official UK Top 50 and in second position, behind Paul Hollywood's Bread (Bloomsbury), in this week's Hardback Non-fiction bestseller list. It sold 4,144 copies in its first week on bookshop shelves—up 315% on the first-week sales of her first cookbook, Notes From My Kitchen Table (Boxtree).