Hardback sales spike across summer

Hardback sales spike across summer

Since bookshops began reopening in the UK on 15th June, hardback sales have soared against the same period in 2019.

With 6.5 million hardbacks sold since the week ending 20th June through Nielsen BookScan's TCM, volume was up 23% year on year. Value rocketed 26.8%, at £77.3m. As a proportion of the market, hardback sales accounted for 23.5% of the TCM's volume, up from last year's 20.8%. 

Three hardbacks—David Walliams' The World's Worst Parents (HarperCollins), Charlie Mackesy's The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse (Ebury) and Caroline Hirons' Skincare (HQ)—have earned £1m over the past eight weeks, compared to two for the year before. Four hardbacks also earned between £1m and £500,000, which no hardback did across the same period in 2019. Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun hit £760,170 in its launch week, as it debuted in the UK Official Top 50 number one last week, and the Adam Kay-edited Dear NHS (Orion), Ella Mills Woodward's Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy (Yellow Kite), and John Bolton's Trump exposé The Room Where It Happened (S&S) also spiked above the £500,000-mark.

With much of the nation still working remotely (and restaurants gradually reopening), cookbooks sold strongly, with the Food & Drink category up 20.5% year on year, to just under a million books sold in the past eight weeks. Though Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy leads the category at 38,613 copies sold, backlist cookbooks performed well too, with 2019 titles Pinch of Nom, Pinch of Nom Everyday Light (Bluebird) and Dishoom (Bloomsbury) in the top 20 and 2017-published Jamie Oliver's 5 Ingredients (Michael Joseph) hitting seventh place for Food & Drink.

Children's hardback titles also buffeted the market, with The World's Worst Parents spending four weeks in the overall number one spot and Midnight Sun becoming the secod fastest-selling Twilight title in August. Along with Walliams' lockdown title Slime, these hardbacks made up the top three bestsellers in the Children's category for the period, with Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Scholastic) in fifth.

Hardback fiction was also up 20% in volume year on year, while paperback fiction declined very marginally by 0.05%. Hardbacks were led by Fern Britton's staycation-friendly Daughters of Cornwall (HarperCollins). Peter James' Find Them Dead (Macmillan) was the highest earner: it brought in just under £300,000 since its publication in July.