Printed book sales rise £8m week on week

Printed book sales rise £8m week on week

Printed book sales soared by £8m in the UK last week, as shoppers flocked to the high street after being kept away by bad weather the previous week.

Nielsen BookScan data reveals a total of £45.3m was spent on printed books in the seven days to 1st December, up 21.6% week on week. Sales through its General Retail Market panel of booksellers, which offers a good indicator of high street book shop performance, were up 19.2%.

Numerous titles within the non-fiction sector, the traditional hunting ground for a Christmas gift, enjoyed big sales boosts, with overall sales of non-fiction books in BookScan's top 5,000 chart for the week growing by more than 30%.

Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 15-minute Meals (Michael Joseph) proved the bestselling book overall, selling 69,111 copies in the seven days to 1st December. Last week's chart-topper Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel (Puffin) suffered a slight drop in sales and falls to second position with a sale of 53,089. Guinness World Records (Guinness) retains third place with a sale of 50,216 copies. Miranda Hart's Is it Just Me? (Hodder, 36,169 copies sold) and Bradley Wiggins' My Time (Yellow Jersey, 28,334) complete the top five.

Non-fiction books that received big sales boosts include: Wiggins' My Time (+50%); TV chef Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II (Fourth Estate, up 76%); The Private Eye Annual (Private Eye, up 62%), broadcaster Jake Humphrey's The Inside Track (Simon & Schuster, up 193%), and Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem (Ebury, up 50%). There were also big boosts for Tyler Hamilton's The Secret Race (Bantam Press, up 221%), the recent recipient of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, and C T Grey's E L James spoof, Fifty Sheds of Grey (Boxtree, up 66%). The latter sold 9,747 copies in the UK last week, taking £58,000 through the tills—some £5,500 more than was spent on copies of the book it spoofs, James' Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow). It enters the Official UK Top 50 in 38th position, and joins this week's Hardback Non-fiction list in 16th place.

Newspaper "book of the year" reviews had an impact on sales, with countless titles recently recommended by contributors enjoying solid sales uplifts. Three books that received a multitude of nominations saw their sales more than double week on week: Zadie Smith's NW (Hamish Hamilton) enjoyed a 57% surge; Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Portobello) received a 106% uplift; while Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways (Hamish Hamilton) saw its sales climb 227%.

J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown) returns to number one in the Original Fiction chart this week, following a three-week hiatus. Sales of the novel, which is to become a BBC drama series in 2014, jumped 18%. Sales of the hardback novel now stand at 316,690 copies—almost twice as many as the next bestselling hardback novel of 2012, Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate, 166,924).

For the 31st week of 48 in 2012, an erotic novel tops The Bookseller's Mass-market Fiction chart. Sylvia Day’s Seven Years to Sin (Penguin) is this week’s new number one, occupying the spot her Reflected in You (Penguin) claimed last week.

Despite the swell in sales in the non-fiction sector in particular, the printed book market continues to lag behind 2011. Spending on printed books last week was down 9.1%, or £4.5m, on the comparative week last year. Volume sales were down 8.8% year on year—a sixth month low in percentage terms.