Printed books fall £2.8m as kids go back to school

Printed books fall £2.8m as kids go back to school

Printed book sales slumped 11% last week as children returned to school and adults to work following the spring half-term break. According to Nielsen BookScan data, £23m was spent on physical books at UK book retail outlets in the seven days to 25th February, down £2.8m on the previous week and down £5.5m (19%) on the same week last year—when the half-term break was a week later in the calendar.

Children's book sales fell 25% week on week and were down 30% year on year, while the fiction sector slumped 10% week on week and was down 30% year on year, due largely to a huge decline in sales of paperback novels.

In another tough week for traditional bookshops, Jennifer Worth's Call the Midwife (Phoenix) was the bestselling book, selling 26,300 copies across all print editions—up 4% week on week. In total, £202,000 was spent on Worth's numerous midwifery memoirs last week, making her the most valuable author to booksellers.

The TV tie-in edition of Worth's Call the Midwife takes pole position in this week's Official UK Top 50 with a 23,151 sale. Helped by a spot in W H Smith's half-price "book of the week" promotion, the mass-market edition of Val McDermid's seventh Tony Hill/Carol Jordan thriller The Retribution (Sphere), takes second place in the chart, ahead of Katie Fforde's Summer of Love (Arrow).

McDermid's The Retribution takes pole position in this week's Top 20 Mass-market Fiction chart, scoring the Scottish crime writer her first ever Bookseller number one. Her previous high was second position—scored by Fever in the Bone in March 2010.

New entries into the Official UK Top 50 include: Kim Edwards' The Lake of Dreams (Viking), the follow-up to her bestselling The Memory Keepers' Daughter (Penguin); Lisa Gardner's fifth D D Warren thriller, Love You More (Headline), and two of this year's £1 World Book Day titles, Jacqueline Wilson's Big Day Out (Yearling) and Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World (HarperCollins).

Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley) was the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in the UK last week, scoring sales of 3,972 copies. Berry becomes the first female food writer to top the bestseller list since Linda Collister in September last year, and only the fourth (following Collister, Ching He-Huang and Delia Smith) in the past 10 years.

Sophie Kinsella's I’ve Got Your Number (Bantam Press) was once again the bestselling hardback novel in the UK, and scores a second week at the top of the Original Fiction chart. John Lanchester’s Capital (Faber) débuts in second position in the Original Fiction list with a 3,570 part-week sale. It is a vast improvement on the novelist’s previous hardback novel weekly sales record of just 974 copies, set by Fragrant Harbour in July 2002.