Sales surge for Man Booker shortlist books

Sales surge for Man Booker shortlist books

A D Miller and Carol Birch's novels are the big winners of the Man Booker Prize shortlist so far, with sales across the six books surging 290% by volume on last week.

The six books on the list shifted 18,496 copies for the week ending 10th September through Nielsen BookScan’s Total Consumer Market, up from 6,358.

Miller's Snowdrops (Atlantic) and Birch's Jamrach’s Menagerie both surged into the Top 50; Snowdrops had the biggest rise, soaring up 200 places on the TCM to 37th, chalking up sales of 5,475 last week, while Jamrach’s Menagerie, also on the W H Smith/Richard and Judy Book Club, climbs from 122nd to 48th place with sales last week of 4718 copies. The remaining titles—Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending (Cape), Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English (Bloomsbury), Patrick De Witt’s The Sisters Brothers (Granta) and Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues (Serpents Tail), all appear on the Original Fiction Top 20.

The WHS/R&J collaboration has again borne fruit, with four of the top 20 and six of the Top 50 titles last week coming from the current edition of the club. All eight books in the promotion improved their TCM position on the previous week, led once again by Peter May’s The Blackhouse (Quercus).

Yet despite the Booker and R&J, it has been another less than rosy week for physical book sales. Just over £28.2m was spent through UK booksellers last week, a decline of 10.4% from the same week in 2010. This follows last week which was down 13% by value year-on-year. This week in 2010 saw 11 titles sell 20,000 copies or more, including Tony Blair’s A Journey (Hutchinson, 57,759) and Lee Child’s 61 Hours (Bantam, 43,214). Only two versions of the same title, David Nicholls’ One Day (Hodder), sold more than 20,000 last week.    

However, several film tie-ins fared well last week. One Day kept up its one-two punch at the very top, with a slight variation as the tie-in vaulted to number one. Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It (Vintage) is the second highest new entry on the back of the Sarah Jessica Parker film, while Gary Oldman’s rapturously reviewed portrayal of George Smiley in John Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has helped the tie-in version (Sceptre) move up to 22nd place.  

The eagerly awaited paperback to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (4th Estate), is the highest Top 50 new entry with 11,351 copies sold.

The media’s blanket coverage of revelations from former chancellor Alistair Darling’s memoir Back from the Brink (Atlantic) helped its first week sales. The former chancellor’s memoir is the highest non-fiction new entry of BookScan’s Top 5,000, shifting 6,321 copies, just pipped to the top spot on the Hardback Non-Fiction by Linda Collister’s Great British Bake Off (BBC)

Darling is mid-table in the standing of first week sales of New Labour grandee memoirs. He trails the big three of Tony Blair (92,060 copies), Alastair Campbell (23,956) and Peter Mandelson (14,960) and yet is streets ahead of Mo Mowlam (1,593), John Prescott (1,549), Clare Short (516) and bottom dweller David Blunkett. His On a Clear Day (Michael O’Mara) sold an anemic 155 copies in its first full week of sales in 2002.