E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow) was comfortably the bestselling printed book in the UK last week, scoring a sizzling 61,187 sales across the seven days to 21st April.
Just two novels have scored a stronger seven-day sale for the month of April since records began in 1998: Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Quercus) in 2010, and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Vintage) in 2004.
According to Nielsen BookScan, £267,000 was spent on copies of the erotic novel last week, accounting for roughly five pence in every £1 spent on a work of fiction last week.
Random House Group has reported that combined e-book and print copies sales of Fifty Shades totalled 100,000 copies in its first full week on sale in the UK. The publisher also reported that it is "officially the fastest-selling e-book in the history of The Random House Group UK".
50 Shades' print sales rose 300% week on week, but it was by no means the only novel penned by a woman to enjoy a big boost. All six of the books in contention for the Orange Prize for Fiction enjoyed solid uplifts, led by Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder (Bloomsbury) which enjoyed a huge 2,200% hike following the announcement of the shortlist. However, just one of the six shortlisted titles managed a strong enough sale to crack a Bookseller bestseller list this week: Madeleine Miller’s The Song of Achilles (Bloomsbury) sold 1,965 copies across all print editions last week, with the mass-market edition taking seventh position in this week’s Heatseekers chart.
In total, the six novels sold 4,200 copies, taking £27,000 through bookshop tills—a tenth of the figure E L James scored on her own.
New entries into the Official UK Top 50 this week are led by the latest edition of the BBC Proms Guide (BBC), which joins in 20th position—one ahead of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting prequel Skagboys. The latter scores Random House imprint Jonathan Cape its first Original Fiction number one since Ian McEwan’s Saturday topped the chart in February 2005.
In total, sales of novels increased slightly (5%) week-on-week, according to an analysis of BookScan’s top 5,000 bestseller list data, as was the case in non-fiction (+5%). However, a drop in spending on books for children as they returned to school after the Easter holiday meant overall sales were up a shallower 2.8% week on week, to £22.8m.