Sally Rooney’s latest novel Beautiful World, Where Are You (Faber) is already the biggest selling hardback fiction title of 2021 at Waterstones after just three days on sale, the chain's m.d. James Daunt has said.
Daunt, who oversees 280 stores across Ireland and the UK, told the Irish Times and Independent the news was “absolutely fantastic” and that sales were running at double her previous novel, Normal People. It became the chain's third-bestselling hardback fiction title of the year after just one day on sale and is now 2021's bestseller, he said.
He added: “Our booksellers love her. She has been so generous and kind with her time and effort over the years and everyone is really happy for her."
Bea Carvalho, Waterstones fiction buyer, told The Bookseller: “We are absolutely delighted that Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You is the bestselling fiction hardback of 2021 in Waterstones bookshops after only three days. Day one sales were up on the first day’s sales of Normal People by more than 1,200%, and it is sure to remain a bestseller throughout the autumn’s busy publication schedule. The release of Beautiful World, Where Are You was the most hotly anticipated moment in this year’s literary calendar and a huge cultural highlight in general. We were thrilled to welcome Sally Rooney to our Piccadilly bookshop on Monday night for a truly special launch event, and it is extremely pleasing that her brilliant book is doing as well as it deserves to. Our customers have a weekend of excellent reading ahead of them.”
Daunt said since Waterstones reopened after lockdown, book sales "have been incredibly strong". He added Rooney’s novel “has filled up the shops again and set us up for what is a crucial time of the year. We need a good Christmas to get us back into shape after what has been a pretty terrible 18 months".
Nielsen BookScan data for the year to date in the UK, starting in mid-March, shows Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club (Viking) and Matt Haig's The Midnight Library (Canongate) are the biggest-selling adult fiction titles and the biggest sellers overall.
The Thursday Murder Club has sold 414,648 copies to date and The Midnight Library is on 317,615 copies in paperback, though its figure is missing a few weeks of sales as it was published in February. Nielsen did not make lockdown-era sales data available.
Osman's book is also the fastest-selling adult novel this year, since numbers returned, with 44,096 copies sold in its first week in paperback.