James ties down second consecutive number one, half-year market gains

James ties down second consecutive number one, half-year market gains

E L James’ Grey had its second straight 300,000-plus weekly print sale—pushing the book's combined UK e-book and physical sales over the 1 million unit mark—while the overall British print books market has experienced its first half-year rise in seven years.   

James’ Grey (Arrow) shifted an astonishing 302,343 copies through Nielsen BookScan’s Total Consumer Market and in just two weeks of sale has become the biggest-selling book of the last year. Grey’s 688,323-copy total eclipses the almost 650,000 units the previous bestselling book of the last 52 weeks, David Walliams’ Awful Auntie (HarperCollins Children’s Books), has sold since being published in September 2014.

Additionally, Penguin Random House has said Grey sold 95,000 e-books in its second week, bringing its digital sales to over 356,000 copies, for a combined "e" and "p" total of 1.04 million units.

Last week marked James’ 24th time as a UK Official number one, and she outsold the next bestselling book, Karin Slaughter’s Cop Town (Arrow, 14,735 copies), by a factor of 20 to 1. 

Meanwhile, with £23.5m sold through BookScan last week, TCM sales hit £589.8m for the first 26 weeks of 2015, a 3.9% jump on last year, the first time since 2008 that the overall physical books market has had a half-year rise.     

Part of the reason for 2015’s first-half print resurgence is a resilient fiction sector. Just over £125.3m was spent through the TCM Top 5,000 in the Adult Fiction category thus far in 2015, a 5% rise on 2014 and the first time the physical books fiction market has had positive growth in the first half in seven years.

Paul Hawkins is one of the fiction authors leading the 2015 charge. Her The Girl on the Train sold 7,363 copies last week to record its 19th Original Fiction top spot, equalling the all-time record for Original Fiction number ones set by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (Bantam) in 2009. All print editions of Hawkins’ book have sold almost 287,000 units in 2015 and have been worth £2.5m to booksellers. 

The healthy eating and adult colouring books trends have helped Trade: Non-Fiction TCM 5000 sales rise a robust 6.1% in the first half of 2015. Led by Ella Woodward’s Deliciously Ella (Yellow Kite)—the bestselling book of the year in Trade: Non-Fiction, which has shifted 190,000 units for £1.9m—BookScan’s Food & Drink category is up 10.1% this half-year. 

The second bestselling cookery book of the year—Mary Berry’s Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites (BBC)—captured the number one spot in Hardback Non-Fiction for a seventh week, selling 12,341 units, and has shifted £1.6m through the tills since being released in February.

Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom (Batsford, 11,915 copies) returned to the top of Paperback: Non-Fiction after being displaced the previous week by Guy Martin’s My Autobiography (Virgin), which slips to third. This is colouring book queen Marotta’s sixth non-consecutive week as Paperback Non-Fiction number one. Marotta’s new title, Tropical Wonderland (Batsford, 3,534 units), débuted in seventh placed in Paperback: Non-Fiction, while Emma Farrarons’ The Mindfulness Colouring Book (Boxtree, 7,740 copies) moved up to second place. 

Colouring books also nab the top two spots in the Children’s chart with Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest (both Laurence King) selling 6,334 and 6,327 units, respectively. Secret Garden gives Basford her second Children’s number one after Enchanted Forest first accomplished that feat eight weeks previously.