Cuckoo's Calling sales soar 41,000%

Cuckoo's Calling sales soar 41,000%

Sales of J K Rowling's pseudonymous novel, The Cuckoo's Calling (Little, Brown), rocketed 41,000% last week following her outing in the Sunday Times on 14th July as the true identity behind "Robert Galbraith".

However, with rapidly reprinted stock of The Cuckoo's Calling not hitting bookshops until late last week, its boost in sales wasn't enough to send the novel to the top spot in the Official UK Top 50.

Nielsen BookScan data reveals 17,662 copies of the hardback were sold in the seven-day period ending 20th July—up from just 43 copies the previous week—putting Rowling in third place in the chart. It sold fewer than 500 copies in its three–month period on sale before the Sunday Times' sensational exposé.

Although Rowling's outing was not part of a publicity stunt planned to coincide with the release of the mass-market edition of her The Casual Vacancy, the latter enjoyed a solid opening week sale. The mass-market edition of the book, her first novel for adult audiences, was officially released on Thursday last week and sold 19,548 copies—1,886 more than The Cuckoo's Calling—making the book number two in the Official UK Top 50.

Neither of Rowling's two novels, though, could bring an end to John Grisham's reign at the summit of the chart. Sales of the American's The Racketeer (Hodder) fell 19% week on week, but its 24,222 sale was strong enough to retain first place in the Official UK Top 50 for a second consecutive week. It means that, although Hachette UK missed out on the Man Booker 2013 longlist, the publishing house takes the top three spots in this week's Official UK Top 50, with Grisham flying the flag for Hodder ahead of Rowling's two novels published by Little, Brown.

Despite booksellers quickly running out of stock early last week, The Cuckoo's Calling proved the bestselling hardback novel of the week, relegating Dan Brown's Inferno (Bantam Press) into second position in this week's Top 20 Original Fiction chart after nine consecutive weeks at number one. James Patterson and Howard Roughan's Second Honeymoon (Century) débuts in third position in a chart which welcomes 10 new entries in total.

Rick Stein's India (BBC) proved the bestselling hardback non-fiction book of the week and returns to pole position in the Hardback Non-fiction chart after a two-week hiatus. Stein's latest cookbook supplants James Bowen's The World According to Bob at the summit of the bestseller list, meaning publisher Hodder's rare feat of topping three of The Bookseller's four main fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists does not continue for a second week.

However, with Grisham number one in the Mass-market Fiction chart and Miranda Hart's Is it Just Me? continuing its reign at number one in the Paperback Non-fiction bestseller list, the publisher does score double paperback number ones—a feat achieved by just one other publisher since 2011: Hachette stablemate Orion.

Helped by demand for The Cuckoo's Calling and an abundance of new hardbacks by the likes of Danielle Steel, Santa Montefiore, Stephen Leather and Harry Sidebottom, sales of hardback novels through BookScan's top 5,000 bestseller list surged 62% week on week in value terms, boosting the total value of the market by 4.9%, or £1.1m.

However, the trade remains behind the the E L James-boosted summer of 2012—the value of the market was down 21.5%, or £6.2m, year on year.