Print book sales continue to fall

Print book sales continue to fall

Book sales slipped for the fourth week in a row last week, and were down more than £3.3m on last year, according to Nielsen BookScan data.

A total of £24.2m was spent on printed books at UK retail outlets in the seven days to 26th March, down 2.9% (£735,000) on the previous week, and down 12% on the same week last year.

It is the 10th week of 12 in 2011 thus far that BookScan has reported a drop in year-on-year book sales, as the trade struggles to match a particularly poor start to 2010 when inclement weather resulted in sales falling 6% (£23m) in the first three months of the year on 2009.

The bestselling book in yet another difficult week for booksellers was Dublin-born Cathy Kelly's Homecoming (Harper), her 12th full-length novel. The book sold 20,625 copies in its first full week on bookshop shelves, some 1,477 more than this week's number two: Mark Billingham's From the Dead (Sphere).

Danielle Steel's Big Girl (Corgi) takes third spot with a 17,573 sale, while two 2010 Man Booker Prize longlistees, David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (Sceptre) and Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap (Atlantic) take spots four and five. The former's sales were helped by a spot in W H Smith's popular "£2.99 if you buy the Times" promotion, while the latter's sales were helped by a "better than half price" deal at Waterstone's.

Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 30-minute Meals (Michael Joseph) narrowly holds off Tarek Malouf's The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days (Collins) to take top spot in this week's Top 20 Hardback Non-fiction chart and in so doing breaks Lynne Truss' 25-week record (with Eats, Shoots and Leaves) for claiming the bestseller list top spot.

Jamie's 30-minute Meals has now spent six months atop The Bookseller's hardback non-fiction chart, and its sales have now passed the 1.5m mark. Only two non-fiction books have sold more copies since Nielsen BookScan records began in 1998: Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (Doubleday), and The Official Highway Code (TSO).