Print sales hit 2013 high

Print sales hit 2013 high

Sales of printed books rocketed to a 2013 high last week as shoppers hit bookshops in the hunt for Mother's Day gifts and World Book Day treats. Nielsen BookScan data reveals spending on printed books totalled £25.2m in the seven days to 9th March—up 12.5% (£2.8m) on the previous week and up 1.2% (£0.3m) on the same week last year.

The eight-strong crop of £1 World Book Day 2013 titles proved the bestselling books of the week, led by Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry's Guide to Perfect Parents (Orion) with sales of 56,813 copies—8,781 more than the next most popular title, Liz Pichon's Tom Gates: Best Book Day Ever (Scholastic).

In total, the eight £1 titles sold a combined 317,970 copies last week, bringing total sales to 444,380 for the year thus far—up 21% on last year's crop by the comparative point, although this is in part due to the fact WBD tokens were available for redemption earlier this year than last year.

It wasn't just the £1 titles proving popular within the children's sector in the week of World Book Day. Total sales of children's books through BookScan's top 5,000 bestseller list for the week jumped 25% week on week, or 15% if one removes the influence of the £1 books from the data.

Children's titles enjoying significant boosts in sales included: David Walliams' Gangsta Granny (HarperCollins); Julia Donaldson's Tiddler (Alison Green); Louis Sachar's Holes (Bloomsbury); Simon Mayo's Itch (Corgi); and The Roald Dahl Treasury (Cape)—all of which saw their sales jump by more than 75% week on week.

Mother's Day gifting also led to some big boosts within the sector, with titles such as Paula Metcalf's My Mummy (Macmillan); Giles Andreae's I Love My Mummy (Orchard); Anthony Browne's My Mum (Doubleday); and David Melling's Just Like My Mum (Hodder) all seeing sales more than double week on week.

The impact of Mother's Day was largely felt within the adult sector. The top 10 bestselling novels in the UK last week in both paperback and hardback formats were all written by women (with Maxine Paetro receiving collaborative assistance from James Patterson), while there were significant uplifts within the humour (+55%), biographies and memoirs (+25%) and cookbook (+35%) sectors week on week.

Titles such as Miranda Hart's Is It Just Me? (Hodder); Keep Calm for Mums (Summersdale); Alison Maloney's The Mums' Book (Michael O'Mara); Rachel Allen's Cake (Collins), and the two most recent "Great British Bake Off" cookbooks, How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom and Showstoppers (both BBC), all saw their sales more than double week on week, helping sales of non-fiction books through BookScan's Top 5,000 bestseller list for the week jump 15% on the previous week.