Costa winners' sales treble

Costa winners' sales treble

Sales of the Costa Book of the Year category winners have trebled since their victories last week, with Andrew Miller's sixth novel, Pure (Sceptre), comfortably proving the bestseller of the five titles.

According to Nielsen BookScan data, £37,000 was spent on 4,500 copies of the five category winners last week, up 206% on the previous week, and up 15% on last year's selections over the comparative period. Miller's Pure, the winner of the Costa Novel award, accounted for almost half of that total, selling 2,150 copies across all print editions.

Costa First Novel Award winner Christie Watson's Tiny Sunbirds Far Away (Quercus) proved the second most popular title in sales terms, selling 934 copies last week, with poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy's The Bees (Picador) the Poetry Award winner, proving the third most popular with sales of 686 copies.

Biography Award winner Matthew Hollis' Now All Roads Lead to France (Faber) sold 578 copies last week, while Children's Award recipient Moira Young's Blood Red Road (Marion LLoyd), sold a comparatively low 140 copies. There is hope for Young, however: in each of the past two years the lowest-selling Costa category winner has gone on to win the Costa Book of the Year award: Christopher's Reid's A Scattering (Arete), and Jo Shapcott's Of Mutability (Faber).

Both previous winners received big boosts upon receiving the award, but sales of the two titles, both poetry collections, have been low in comparison to previous winners. A Scattering's sales of 16,300 copies to date, and Of Mutability's sales of 17,000 copies, are both dwarfed by 2008 winner Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture (Faber), sales of which total 388,000 copies.

Carol Ann Duffy's The Bees has sold 21,400 copies since publication, more than any other title in contention for the overall Costa Book of the Year award, which will be announced on 24th January.

For four consecutive years between 1996 and 1999 (when known as the Whitbread awards), the victor in the poetry category triumphed to take the Book of the Year award, with all published by Faber: Seamus Heaney's The Spirit Level (1996); Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid (1997); Hughes' Birthday Letters (1998); and Heaney's Beowulf (1999).