Printed book sales fall as Christmas digital sales rise

Printed book sales fall as Christmas digital sales rise

Physical book sales in the final week of the year totalled £22.5m — down 70% week on week and down 16% on the comparative post-Christmas week last year.

With both HarperCollins and Hachette UK reporting that they sold more than 100,000 e-books on Christmas Day in the UK, there is a possibility that more e-books were downloaded last week than printed books sold in UK bookshops (3,075,000 copies).

According to Nielsen BookScan top 5,000 bestseller data, sales of paperback novels were particularly poor — down 35% year-on-year — while the hardback non-fiction sector's pre-Christmas struggles have continued into the post-Christmas sales, with spending down 20% on 2010.

With sales of 15,600 copies across all print editions last week, Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Quercus) was the bestselling book in the UK last week, although as its sales were split across four different editions, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel, Cabin Fever (Puffin), tops this week's Official UK Top 50 with single edition sales of 12,004 copies. Denis Avey and Rob Broomby's The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz (Hodder) takes second place in the chart, with sales of 9,787 copies, while the Hollywood film tie-in edition of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Quercus) charts in third position with sales of 9,726 copies.

The latter tops this week's Mass-market Fiction chart, but does so with the lowest weekly sale from a single-edition paperback novel since BookScan Total Consumer Market records began in 2001. 

P D James' Pride and Prejudice murder mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley, was the bestselling hardback novel in the UK last week, scoring James and her publisher Faber their first Original Fiction number ones since records began. Terry Pratchett's Snuff (Doubleday) was the second bestselling hardback novel in the post-Christmas sales, with Patricia Cornwell's Red Mist (Little, Brown) sitting in third place in the chart.

Maureen Lee's Au Revior Liverpool (Orion) is the highest new entry in this week's Mass-market Fiction bestseller list, joining in fourth position overall with sales of 6,521 copies. Larsson tops the chart, ahead of James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge's Tick Tock (Arrow) and Michael Connelly's The Fifth Witness (Orion).

Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Great Britain (Michael Jopeph) was once again the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in the UK. The cookbook sold 9,645 copies in the UK last week, some 3,355 copies more than the next bestselling hardback non-fiction title, Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy (HarperCollins).

Two books enter this week's Top 20 Paperback Non-fiction bestseller list thanks to some early New Year New You sales. Pierre Dukan's The Dukan Diet (Hodder) returns to the bestseller chart for the first time in just over a month, while a new edition of Richard Templar's Rules of Wealth (Prentice-Hall), first published in 2006, débuts in 12th position.

Six Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles were among the top 10 bestselling children's novels in the UK last week. In total, just shy of £250,000 was spent on Kinney's numerous books, accounting for one penny in ever pound spent on a printed book last week.