Mother's Day boosts book sales to 2012 high

Mother's Day boosts book sales to 2012 high

Helped by gift purchasing ahead of Mother's Day, book sales jumped 4.3% week on week last week, to a 2012 high. According to Nielsen BookScan, £26m was spent on printed books in the seven days to 17th March, up £1.065m on the previous week and up £1.055m (4.2%) year on year.

Sales within the hardback non-fiction sector, a favourite hunting ground for a Mother's Day gift, soared 50% week on week according to BookScan Top 5,000 data, while sales in the hardback fiction sector were boosted by new releases by the likes of Jeffrey Archer, Jo Nesbø and Jane Green.

Jennifer Worth's Call the Midwife (Phoenix) was the bestselling book in the UK in the week leading up to Mothering Sunday, helped by the release of the BBC adaptation of the nursing memoir on DVD on Monday (12th March). Sales of the book totalled 31,894 copies across all print editions across the seven days to 17th March, its strongest week of sales since it first hit shelves in 2002.

The TV tie-in edition takes pole position in this week's Official UK Top 50 ahead of Danielle Steel's 44 Charles Street (Corgi) and George R R Martin's A Dance with Dragons: Part II: After the Feast (HarperVoyager) which, somewhat unexpectedly, outsold Part I: Dreams and Dust, by 18,742 copies to 18,023 in their first week on bookshop shelves.

Jeffrey Archer’s The Sins of the Father (Macmillan), the second instalment in his epic Clifton Chronicles saga, was the bestselling hardback novel of the week and débuts in pole position in this week’s Original Fiction chart. Its opening-week sale of 12,673 copies was up 170% on the first-week sales of the first book in the series, Only Time Will Tell (Macmillan), last year.

Jo Nesbø’s ninth Harry Hole thriller (although only the seventh to be translated into English), Phantom (Harvill Secker), débuts in second position in the Original Fiction chart, and 21st position overall. It’s opening week sale of 9,931 copies was up 30% on the previous book in the series, The Leopard (Harvill Secker).

Also new in the Original Fiction chart is Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday)—one of the 2012 “Waterstones 11”, the retailer’s pick of the “best début novels of 2012”. Joyce is a graduate of the same Faber Academy writing course as S J Watson whose Before I Go to Sleep (also published by Transworld) has sold 260,000 copies since publication last year.

All five new entries in this week’s Top 20 Mass-market Fiction chart enjoyed spots in W H Smith front-of-store promotions last week. Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers (Pan) and Rosie Thomas’ The Kashmir Shawl (Harper) were members of its “£2.99 with the Times” promotion, while Mark Billingham’s Good as Dead (Sphere) and the two A Dance with Dragons volumes were members of its half-price “book of the week” and “deal of the week” promotions.

Sales of cookbooks jumped 40% week on week in the week leading up to Mothering Sunday, with the Hairy Bikers’ Big Book of Baking (Weidenfeld) proving the bestseller in an incredibly competitive market. Sales of the hirsute duo’s new book, a tie-in to their BBC “Bakeathon” series, jumped 130% week on week, to 9,728 copies sold, scoring the Bikers their first Hardback Non-fiction number one in two years.

Numerous other cookbooks enjoyed big week-on-week boosts, including Lorraine Pascale’s Home Cooking Made Easy (HarperCollins, up 120%), Linda Collister’s The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake (BBC, up 85%), Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Great Britain (Michael Joseph, up 70%), and Marian Keyes’ Saved By Cake (Michael Joseph, up 50%).

Call the Midwife spends a 10th consecutive week at the summit of the Top 20 Paperback Non-fiction chart. Just three other books have achieved the feat in the past five years: Frankie Boyle’s My Shit Life so Far (HarperCollins) and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (Bloomsbury) both did it in 2010, while Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father (Canongate) spent 12 weeks in a row at number one in 2008-2009.

With the Hairy Bikers at number one in the Hardback Non-fiction chart, and Call the Midwife securing the Paperback Non-fiction number one, it means publisher Orion tops both of The Bookseller's non-fiction charts this week, becoming only the fifth publisher (after Transworld, Penguin, HarperCollins and Cornerstone) to achieve the feat in the past five years.

Suzanne Collins, meanwhile, was comfortably the most valuable children’s author to booksellers last week, with her Hunger Games trilogy taking £316,000 through bookshop tills. They sold a combined 55,742 copies last week—up 60% on the previous week and up 2,950% year on year. The film adaptation of the first in the series, The Hunger Games, hits UK cinemas on Friday (23rd March).