Jamie crowned Christmas number one again

Jamie crowned Christmas number one again

TV chef Jamie Oliver has scored his second consecutive Christmas number one, and his fourth since the turn of the millennium. His new cookbook, Jamie's Great Britain (Michael Joseph), sold 59,156 copies at UK booksellers last week, just 3,764 copies more than runner-up Guinness World Records.

It is the first time in more than 10 years that an author has scored back-to-back Christmas number ones. The last person to achieve the feat was fellow celebrity chef Delia Smith, whose How to Cook: Book One and How to Cook: Book Two (both BBC Books), topped the Christmas charts in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

Paul Moran's Where's the Meerkat? (Michael O'Mara) was the third bestselling book of the week, climbing 12 places to third position in the Official UK Top 50 thanks to an 89% week-on-week sales boost. It sales rocketed from 20,807 copies sold to 39,376 week on week. Just one other title saw its sales soar by more than 10,000 copies—Dawn French's A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Penguin), thanks to a spot in W H Smith's popular "£2.99 with the Times" promotion.

Martina Cole's 18th thriller, The Faithless (Headline), was once again the bestselling hardback novel in the UK, selling 21,936 copies at UK bookshops. It tops this week's Original Fiction chart for a fifth week, ahead of the bestselling book at independent bookshops last week, P D James' Pride and Prejudice mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley (Faber).

Helped by its silver screen adaptation, Kathryn Stockett's The Help was the bestselling paperback novel in the UK last week, selling 35,557 copies across all print editions. With a sale of 20,849 copies, A Tiny Bit Marvellous was the second bestselling paperback novel of the week, ahead of James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge's Tick Tock (Arrow), the fourth thriller starring New York detective Michael Bennett.

Jamie's Great Britain, Guinness World Records and Where's the Meerkat? were three of 28 hardback non-fiction books to sell more than 10,000 copies last week, but sales within the sector last week were well behind last year, due largely to slumps within the cookbook and celebrity memoir sector.

Despite Oliver's number one, and the success of new books by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Lorraine Pascale, sales within the Food and Drink sector were down 25% year on year last week, as Oliver's 2010 title, Jamie's 30-minute Meals (Michael Joseph), and Nigella Lawson's Kitchen (Chatto), sold in greater numbers than this year's bestselling cookery titles.

Sales within BookScan's Biographies and Memoirs category were down 35% year on year last week, with a 65% dip in sales within the celebrity-heavy "Arts Autobiographies" category largely to blame. Just three celebrity memoirs, led by Lee Evans' The Life of Lee (Michael Joseph) with sales of 27,127 copies, sold more than 20,000 copies at UK bookshops last week, whereas eight achieved the feat in the comparative week last year.

Spending within the paperback fiction market, meanwhile, continues to slump in the digital age. Sales were down 30% year on year last week, with just 12 paperback novels selling more than 10,000 copies at UK booksellers, less than half the number that sold 10,000 copies or more in the same week last year (26).

In the children's sector, sales remain relatively flat in comparison to last year—down just 0.4%. Jeff Kinney's Cabin Fever (Puffin) once again tops the children's bestseller chart, ahead of David Walliams' Gangsta Granny (HarperCollins). The Beano Annual 2012 was the bestselling children's annual in the UK last week, outselling the next most popular annual, Doctor Who (BBC), by 21,944 copies to 12,873.

In total, £67.8m was spent at UK book retail outlets in the seven days to 17th December, up 16% (£9.4m) on the previous week, but down 8.5% (£6.3m) on the same week last year. However, with Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday this year (compared to Friday last year), sales this week could be stronger than in the comparative week last year.

Christmas Number Ones

2011: Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Great Britain
2010: Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 30-minute Meals
2009: Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol
2008: J K Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard
2007: Russell Brand's My Booky Wook
2006: New Scientist's Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?
2005: Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italy
2004: Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
2003: Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots and Leaves
2002: Guinness World Records
2001: Jamie Oliver's Happy Days with the Naked Chef
2000: Guinness World Records