Onsite book sales increased by 6% at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival this year on 2014, with bestselling titles including books by Nigella Lawson, Bill Bryson and Robert Harris.
James Daunt, m.d. of official festival bookseller Waterstones, said the increase reflected "the strength of both the festival’s programming and the wider quality of publishing this year".
The top 10 selling titles at the 10-day event, in no particular order, were George the Poet’s Search Party (Virgin Books); Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal (Profile Books); Robert Harris’ Dictator (Hutchinson); Nick Robinson’s Election Notebook (Bantam Press); Nigella Lawson’s Simply Nigella (Chatto & Windus); Nigel Mansell’s Staying on Track (Simon & Schuster); Clive James’ Sentenced to Life (Picador); Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling (Doubleday); Michael Morpurgo’s An Eagle in the Snow (HarperCollins Children’s Books); and Ronnie Wood’s How Can It Be? (Genesis Publications).
Daunt said: "This year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival was the most successful yet, with book sales increasing by a pleasing six per cent. This reflects the strength of both the festival’s programming and the wider quality of publishing this year. Coinciding with Super Thursday, the festival acts as the launch-pad for the book trade into the Christmas sales period and this year it propels us forward full of optimism."
The festival, which took place from 2nd to 11th October, sold 136,000 tickets in total. Tickets to the festival’s family programme - Book It! - were up 10% per cent on 2014, with 13,500 sold, while tickets for the schools programme increased by 8%, and attendance at events in the main programme increased by 10%.
Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House UK and chair of Cheltenham Literature Festival, said: "I’m extremely proud of how hard the Cheltenham Festivals team has worked in developing such a rich and evocative programme for all ages - we are delighted to have enjoyed such strong attendance and support from such a variety of writers and thinkers. It’s wonderful to see that amidst all the industry change, the demand for our unique and diverse offering continues to grow."