O'Toole and Hill named Hay bestsellers

O'Toole and Hill named Hay bestsellers

Fintan O'Toole's Heroic Failure (Head of Zeus) and Matt Millz by Harry Hill (Faber) were the bestselling books at this year's Hay Festival, according to organisers. 

As this year's Festival came to a close on Sunday 2nd June, organisers said sales had increased 2.5% compared to last year, thanks to a growing number of people attending the festival from 23rd May, and a series of improvement to the Festival bookshop. Unit sales figures were not broken out. 

Heroic Failure by O'Toole (Head of Zeus) was the bestselling adult title at Hay, with non-fiction titles dominating sales, followed by Costa winner The Cut Out Girl by Bart Van Es (Penguin) and David Nott's War Doctor (Pan Macmillan). Born Lippy by Jo Brand (H&S) and There is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee (CUP) rounded off the top five. 

In children's Matt Millz by Hill (Faber) was the most popular with Abi Elphinstone's Rumblestar (S&S) and Waterstones Children's Book Prize winner The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q Rauf (HCG) in the top three. The Wizards Of Once by Cressida Cowell (HCG) and Cyborg Cat by Ade Adepitan (Templar) made the top five.

According to Nielsen BookScan, for the week ending Saturday 25th May, covering the first three days of Hay, War Doctor and Matt Millz showed the biggest jumps in sales. Nott's account of surgery on the frontline saw an 82% bump week-on-week with 717 copies sold and Matt Millz sold 370 units after selling 18 the week before - a 1,955% boost. 

Oxfam's second-hand bookshop raised £20,000. This year's literary festival saw 278,000 tickets sold, up 5,000 on 2018, with visitors from more than 40 countries. 

Gareth Howell-Jones, Hay bookshop manager, said: "Hay Festival books sales continue to rise through a combination of increasing Festival audiences, improvements to the space itself, and an increase in curated shelves tied to wider Festival projects - from our Book of the Month selections, to this year's Books to Inspire campaign and section that highlights wider contemporary Welsh literature. Our growing audience, naturally, loves books and this is reflected in sales on site and across the town's independent shops."

Hay Festival director Peter Florence said: “It’s been 11 days full of hope – hope for connection, for kindness and for progress. There’s been a welcome generosity in the debates, a willingness to listen and to move forward together. And the stories have ranged across the world, and deep into our selves.”

Hay Festival's bestselling books

1. Heroic Failure by Fintan O'Toole (Head of Zeus) 
2. The Cut Out Girl by Bart Van Es (Penguin)
3. War Doctor by David Nott (Pan Macmillan)
4. Born Lippy by Jo Brand (Hodder & Stoughton)
5. There Is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee (Cambridge University Press)
6. Wilding by Isabella Tree (Pan Macmillan)
7. Queen Victoria by Lucy Worsley (Hodder & Stoughton)
8. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (Penguin)
9. On The Front Line by Stacey Dooley (Ebury)
10. Happy Ever After by Paul Dolan (Penguin)
1. Matt Millz by Harry Hill (Faber)
2. Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone (Simon & Schuster)
3. The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q Rauf (Hachette Children's Group)
4. The Wizards Of Once by Cressida Cowell (Hachette Children's Group)
5. Cyborg Cat by Ade Adepitan (Templar)
6. Head Kid by David Baddiel (HarperCollins)
7. The Paninis of Pompeii by Andy Stanton (Egmont)
8. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne (Usborne)
9. The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick (Head of Zeus)
10. Ask a Scientist by Robert Winston (Dorling Kindersley)