Fifty Shades of Grey quickest paperback to 550k mark

E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow) has become only the fourth paperback novel to sell more than 100,000 copies in a single week and has hit the 550,000 sales mark quicker than any other paperback since Nielsen BookScan records began in 1998.    

Sales of the erotic novel totalled 100,358 copies last week, up 13% on the previous week, bringing its life sales since publication in April to 559,618 copies. Just three paperback novels have sold more copies over seven days in the UK: J K Rowling’s The Goblet of Fire (Bloomsbury), and both The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol (both Corgi) by Dan Brown, while no paperback book has ever reached the 550,000 mark quicker.

It has taken just nine weeks to reach the 550,000 barrier—beating the previous record holder, The Lost Symbol, by seven days. In total, the three Fifty Shades novels sold 221,000 copies last week, taking £923,000 through bookshop tills. Roughly four pence in every £1 spent on a book last week went towards a copy of one of E L James’ novels.
Last Thursday (7th June) was one of the biggest days in the 2012 publishing calendar as publishers released some of their biggest titles of the year with Father’s Day in mind. According to Nielsen BookScan data, 39 different books released on 7th June sold more than 1,000 copies at UK bookshops, of which 15 were hardback publications. Chief of them all was Peter James’ Not Dead Yet (Macmillan) which sold 8,905 copies in its opening week on bookshop shelves, scoring James his third Original Fiction number one in a row.

New novels by Terry Pratchett, James Patterson, Clive Cussler and Martin Amis also earn bestseller status this week, charting high in this week’s Original Fiction chart, while one of the UK’s foremost historians charts towards the top end of this week’s Hardback Non-fiction chart. Antony Beevor’s The Second World War (Weidenfeld) sold 7,514 copies in its first week on bookshop shelves and takes 24th position in the Official UK Top 50 and second position, behind Gok Wan’s Gok Cooks Chinese (Michael Joseph), in this week’s Hardback Non-fiction list.

Other more obvious Father’s Day gifts, such as Giles Andreae’s I Love My Daddy (Orchard) and Keep Calm for Dads (Summersdale) also earn bestseller status this week.

In total, £23.2m was spent at UK booksellers in the seven days to 9th June—up 4.2% on the previous week but down 8.3% on the same week last year.