Sales soar in Mother's Day week

Sales soar in Mother's Day week

Substantial pre-orders and a plethora of half-price offers have lead Jean M Auel's sixth and final Earth's Children installment, The Land of Painted Caves (Hodder), to be the bestselling book in the UK last week, scoring 39,513 sales in its opening week at UK booksellers.

It is one of the strongest first-week sales from a hardback novel since Nielsen BookScan records began and comes despite the fact the book has been poorly reviewed on Amazon. More than 70% of the reviews on the online retailer's UK and US sites have given the book just one or two stars out of five.

Wilbur Smith's Those in Peril (Macmillan), the novelist's first standalone thriller since 1991's The Elephant Song, takes second position in this week's Official UK Top 50 with a 27,639 first-week sale, his strongest opening-week sale since total records began. Danielle Steel's Big Girl (Corgi) takes third place.

Deposed chart-topper Cathy Kelly's Homecoming (Harper) takes fourth place in the charts while Anthony Horowitz' Scorpia Rising (Walker), the ninth and final outing for Alex Rider, débuts in fifth place. Just over £17m has been spent on the Alex Rider novels since Stormbreaker was released in 2000.

Helped by high demand for both the Auel and Smith hardbacks, and solid hardback non-fiction sales in the week leading up to Mother's Day, spending at UK booksellers rocketed by 17.2% (£4.2m) week-on-week, to £28.4m. However, spending was down 5.1% (£1.5m) on the same week last year, and down 6.9% (£2.1m) on the week leading up to Mother's Day in 2010.

Mother's Day hits in 2011 included Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 30-minute Meals (Michael Joseph, sales up 63% week-on-week), The Hairy Bikers Mums Still Know Best (Weidenfeld, up 132%), and Tarek Malouf's Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days (Collins, up 27%).

More obvious Mother's Day titles that enjoy bestseller list status this week included The Loose Women Book for Lovely Mums (Hodder, 6,188 copies sold), Giles Andreae's I Love My Mummy (Orchard, 2,672), Diana Craig's A Book for Mum (Michael O'Mara, 1,626) and Andy Riley's Wine Makes Mummy Clever (Hodder, 1,717).