The Mirror and the Light shatters 100,000 mark

The Mirror and the Light shatters 100,000 mark

Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light (Fourth Estate) has claimed the UK Official Top 50 number one spot for a second week running. Though the hardback fell 60% in volume against the week of its long-awaited launch to 33,549 copies, it has already easilyl surpassed 100,000 copies sold in a week and a half and climbed into the 2020 top five bestsellers.

The independent booksellers’ edition of The Mirror and the Light also sold a further 4,468 copies, though it was leapfrogged in the Original Fiction chart by Wolf Hall, which climbed into the Top 50 and jumped 49% in volume week on week. The first title’s sudden boost in sales implies that at least a few of the previous week’s 95,000 copies bought were by book-buyers who didn’t realise it was part of a trilogy. Bring Up the Bodies also rose, with Mantel's name appearing six times in the Original Fiction top 20.

The World Book Day 2020 tranche also turned out, with eight titles in the top nine and all 12 in the top 30. Supertato: Books are Rubbish! (S&S Children's) continued to lead, with 28,075 copies sold last week and 125,000 copies in total. However, the 2020 line-up suffered year on year, with a combined 214,844 units sold for the week following World Book Day itself, down 20% on the 2019 tranche over the same week last year.

Amid social distancing and self-isolating, the print market dropped by 19.5% in volume and 15.4% in value week on week, though it should be noted that the previous week was the highest of the year to date in both respects. Volume, at 3.18 million books sold, was nowhere near the year's lowest, though value, at £25.7m, was, by just £74,000. Year on year, volume was down 6.3% and value 3.2%. These are not (yet) disastrous figures, though the print market will suffer greatly if Mother's Day gift-buying, usually resulting in one of the strongest weeks of the first half of the year, is affected by coronavirus precautions.

Dilly Court’s A Village Scandal (HarperCollins) held the Mass Market Fiction number one for a second week, with 17,196 copies sold, less than a 2% dip on the week before. David Baldacci’s One Good Deed (Pan), Lesley Pearse’s You’ll Never See Me Again (Penguin) and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl Woman Other (Penguin) climbed up the category chart, with Elizabeth Macneal’s The Doll Factory (Picador) the highest new entry in 14th place.

While Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse (Ebury) held the Hardback Non-Fiction number one for a sixth consecutive week, both of Mrs Hinch’s titles rose up the chart—Mrs Hinch: The Activity Journal hit fourth place and Hinch Yourself Happy (both Michael Joseph) rose to sixth. No doubt intensive cleaning is on many book-buyers’ minds right now.

Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women (Vintage) held the Paperback Non-Fiction number one spot for a second week with 7,847 copies sold, holding off a strong challenge from Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to the Big Questions (John Murray).

The Children's Non-Fiction chart was topped by Onjali Q Rauf's World Book Day title The Day We Met the Queen (Orion Children's), though unsurprisingly, primary school-level study guides filled the rest of the top 20. Collins and CGP titles accounted for 12 of the top 20.