J K Rowling praises booksellers to mark first Specsavers Bestseller Awards

J K Rowling praises booksellers to mark first Specsavers Bestseller Awards

J K Rowling has praised booksellers as she and other authors, including Paula Hawkins and Joe Wicks, were honoured at the Specsavers Bestseller Awards.

The new event to honour high-selling authors took place tonight (25th January) at Mayfair’s No 4 Hamilton Place, hosted by the BBC’s Kate Silverton.

Rowling, along with Wicks, Hawkins and Jojo Moyes were honoured with Platinum awards, meaning their releases this year (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Lean in 15, The Girl on the Train and Me Before You) have racked up more than 1 million sales.

Rowling said: “As an author, the thrill of knowing your latest book is doing well never diminishes, even after 20 years of publishing. The script book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, however, was a bit different, because it was a collaboration with the creative team who produced the play: the director John Tiffany and in particular the writer Jack Thorne ...

“But most of the credit for the success of the script book must go to the booksellers without whom of course there would be no bestsellers. Thank you all for getting behind the script book, and welcoming Harry back as a grown-up.”

Other authors to receive Platinum Bestseller Awards were S J Watson for Before I Go to Sleep (Transworld), David Walliams for four of his novels for children, including Awful Auntie and Mr Stink (HarperCollins), and Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler for Monkey Puzzle (Macmillan Children's Books) and Stick Man (Scholastic Children’s Books).

The event also saw books which sold over 500,000 copies awarded the Gold Bestseller Awards and those which sold over 250,000 units receive Silver Bestseller Awards.

Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris received Gold and Silver Bestseller Awards for their satirical titles including How It Works: The Husband and The Ladybird Guide to the Hangover, inspired by the Ladybird books for Children, while Bruno Vincent’s Christmas bestseller Five on Brexit Island (Quercus) took a Silver Award.

In non-fiction, other authors to win Gold and Silver Awards included Caitlin Moran, Professor Steve Peters, Owen Jones, and Millie Morotta, the artist whose books lead the charge in the adult colouring craze. Honoured for their fiction sales were B. A. Parris, Kate Atkinson and Dinah Jeffries, and in Children’s vlogger-turned-author Zoe Sugg and Tom Gates creator Liz Pichon picked up Bestseller Awards.

Honorary Platinum Awards were presented to Dame Jacqueline Wilson, for over 18m collective sales for books, including the Hetty Feather and Tracy Beaker series; Martina Cole, for 9m sales of novels including Dangerous Lady, The Take and The Madam (Headline) and Anthony Horowitz, who has sold over 6m copies of books featuring Alex Rider as well as classic characters Sherlock Holmes and James Bond.

Andre Breedt, managing director of Nielsen Book Research International, said: “To sell a million copies of one title is an impressive and relatively rare achievement. The fact that so many authors have achieved this level of sales in such a short time, and in some cases several times over, is quite phenomenal. Our ‘Class of 2016’ books, in Platinum, Gold and Silver, offer a clear view of British readers’ current interests and obsessions, from what makes our children laugh to how we as adults make sense of what is going on around us.”

Nielsen revealed its Bestseller Hall of Fame last week, comprising 97 titles by 64 authors – featuring publications that have sold more than one million copies between 1998 and the end of 2015. Rowling appears in the list more than any other author, with nine titles breaking the platinum record, followed by Dan Brown with six. E L James has four, as do the creative team of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. However, James is the only person to achieve a ‘sextuple platinum bestseller’, with Fifty Shades of Grey selling more than six million copies.

On Friday (20th January) it was revealed that Nielsen's US book industry services had been acquired by American data and market insights company NPD, which will effectively split the company into two. Howard Appelbaum, president of Nielsen Entertainment however told The Bookseller there would be “no diminution in service” following the acquisition. Nielsen will continue to own and operate Nielsen Book outside of the US in nine countries as well as in any new international markets.