Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (Doubleday) passed the 800,000 unit mark across all formats in the UK and Ireland last week as it became the first book since Nielsen BookScan records began to earn 20 Original Fiction number ones.
Hawkins’ run of 20 non-consecutive numbers ones broke the record of 19 weeks set by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (Bantam) over the autumn and winter of 2009 and 2010.
It has been a remarkable run for Hawkins. Since being published in January, The Girl on the Train has sold almost 300,000 units in all print formats through Neilsen BookScan for £2.6m. In addition to its 20 Original Fiction top spots, the book also earned an overall UK number one in that last week of March.
Transworld said that The Girl on the Train’s total unit sales across the UK and Ireland in print, e-book and audio is 812,000 units.
It perhaps should be noted that Brown’s previous record-setting run atop Original Fiction was more lucrative. In the time period it recorded its 19 number ones, The Lost Symbol shifted 1.3 million units for £12.6m through BookScan.
Yet booksellers have hailed Hawkins. Waterstones crime fiction buyer Joseph Knobbs called The Girl on the Train’s success an “old-fashioned story of a talented author, impassioned publisher and enthusiastic booksellers”. He added: What we’ve noticed is that people are talking about this book. The next day, the next week, it’s their friends, families, colleagues, knocking down our door for this great thriller they keep hearing about.”
Chorleywood Bookshop owner Sheryl Shurville said: “We were thrilled to be in at the beginning with an author appearance. That interaction between customers and authors helps us sell lots of books and brings people into the shop long after the event has happened.”
The Girl on the Train will be the BBC Radio 4 “Book at Bedtime” for two weeks beginning next Monday (13th July). Last month, Dreamworks announced that Emily Blunt will star in the film adaptation of the book, scheduled to begin shooting later this year.