Print sales fall following bumper week

Print sales fall following bumper week

Printed book sales in the UK slipped back last week, despite a number of new novels by some of the biggest names in fiction hitting bookshop shelves.

Nielsen BookScan Total Consumer Market data reveals £21.9m was spent in the seven days to 16th March—down 13.4% (£3.4m) on a bumper previous week when spending hit a 2013 high helped by World Book Day and Mother's Day gifting. Sales were down 16% (£4.2m) on the same week last year—a week boosted by Mother's Day gift purchasing as the annual celebration fell a week later in the calendar in comparison to 2013.

Sales of hardback non-fiction books through BookScan's Top 5,000 bestseller list fell back 40% week on week, while there were also big tumbles within the paperback fiction (-20%) and children's sectors (-15%).

Helped by new releases from the likes of Jeffrey Archer, Kate Atkinson, Clive Cussler, Robin Hobb, Philip Kerr and Tracy Chevalier, the hardback fiction sector proved the most resilient week on week. The third instalment in Archer's Clifton Chronicles saga, Best Kept Secret (Macmillan), proved the bestselling hardback novel overall, selling 13,214 copies in its three days on sale last week—twice as much as his nearest competitor, Kate Atkinson's standalone novel, Life After Life (Doubleday, 6,134 copies sold).

Both books debut in the Official UK Top 50 this week, in 12th and 26th place respectively, but highest new entry spoils are earned by a book dubbed by the Guardian (Monday, 18th March) as "the bestselling book you've never heard of": Brazilian preacher Edir Macedo's Nothing to Lose (Lunwerg).

The controversial bishop's book, the first volume of his trilogy of memoirs, sold 14,375 copies in the UK last week, thanks principally to a huge UK launch event at Blackwell's Charing Cross Road branch on Sunday 10th March attended by more than 6,000 people.

The huge sales were especially remarkable given Macedo himself didn't appear and was instead represented by a four-strong panel comprised of the co-author of the memoir, Douglas Tavolaro, and representatives of Macedo's Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Europe and London, Julio and Viviane Freitas and Bishop Celso Junior. According to reports, the book sold 179,000 copies at a launch event organised by bookstore chain Saraiva in Rio de Janeiro.

The paperback non-fiction book takes 11th position in the Official UK Top 50, behind a top 10 dominated by the £1 World Book day publications. In total, the eight books sold a combined 176,660 copies in the UK last week, led by Liz Pichon's Tom Gates: Best Book Day Ever (So Far). It is the first time publisher Scholastic has topped the Official UK Top 50 since Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games secured a number one with a 24,520 seven-day sale in April last year. Sales of the £1 World Book Day publications stand at 621,000 copies and counting.