French favourite for third week

French favourite for third week

Dawn French has retained her position at the summit of the Official UK Top 50 for a third week.

The mass-market edition of French's début novel, A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Penguin), sold 34,100 copies at UK booksellers in the seven days to 9th July—down 24% on the previous week, but some 13,055 copies more than the next bestselling book, Lesley Pearse's Belle (also Penguin). Karin Slaughter's Broken (Arrow) falls one place into third position overall.

Kathy Reichs' 13th Tempe Brennan thriller joins the Official UK Top 50 in fifth place having undergone a name change. Released as Mortal Remains in hardback last year, the mass-market edition carries the new name, Spider Bones (Arrow), which keeps it in line with Reichs' previous five Brennan thrillers which all contained the word "Bones" in their titles.

Two other thrillers also début in the top 10: Michael Connelly’s The Reversal (Orion), his third Mickey Haller novel, and Jo Nesbø’s The Leopard (Vintage). Thanks to the Stieg Larsson-generated interest in Scandinavian crime fiction, Nesbø is currently one of the bestselling authors in the UK. In the first half of 2011, just over £3m was spent on his numerous books—up 1,400% (or £2.8m) year-on-year.

New novels by Karin Slaughter, Danielle Steel, Harry Sidebottom, Sheila O’Flanagan, and Man Booker longlistee Tom Rob Smith hit the shelves last week and score places in The Bookseller's Top 20 Original Fiction chart this week, but Slaughter’s Fallen (Century) is the only one to chart in The Official UK Top 50. Helped by a spot in Waterstone’s half-price book-of-the-week promotion, the thriller sold 9,281 copies in its first week on sale.

However, total sales of hardback novels through Nielsen BookScan’s Top 5,000 chart last week were down 15% in comparison to last year. Paperback fiction fared badly too (sales down 10%)—perhaps evidence that at the beginning of Summer Read season, the digital sector is stealing sales from the physical books market. Non-fiction, in comparison, is relatively healthy in comparison to last year. Sales of hardback non-fiction titles through BookScan’s Top 5,000 chart were up 15% year-on-year last week, while paperback sales were up 5%.

Children’s sales, meanwhile, were down 5% year-on-year, in part due to the fact Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Atom) was still selling in solid numbers this time last year.

Across the whole market, £27.1m was spent at UK booksellers last week, up 7.6% (£1.9m) on the previous week, but down 5.6% (£1.6m) on the same week last year.