Sir Alex scores again, tops charts

Sir Alex scores again, tops charts

Alex Ferguson has increased his lead at the summit of the Official UK Top 50.

Sales of the former football manager's record-breaking memoir, My Autobiography (Hodder & Stoughton), increased 14% week on week, to 69,793 copies sold, with his lead over Jeff Kinney's eighth Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel, Hard Luck (Puffin), increasing from a margin of under 7,000 units to more than 18,000.

Sales of Hard Luck slipped 6% week on week, to 51,334 copies sold, but it nonetheless retains second position in the Official UK Top 50 ahead of the latest edition of fact compendium Guinness World Records (43,008 copies sold).

Ferguson is favourite with the majority of bookies to take the coveted book trade Christmas Number One crown. If Ferguson succeeds, he will bring an end to Jamie Oliver's Christmas Number One run—titles by the TV chef have topped the charts on Christmas Day in each of the past three years. Oliver's latest cookbook, Save with Jamie (Michael Joseph), can only manage 27th position in the Official UK Top 50 this week, his £26 hardback selling 10,285 copies in the seven-day period ending 30th November—just 1/7th the sale of Ferguson's memoir.

Along with My Autobiography, Hard Luck and Guinness World Records, four other books enjoyed sales of 20,000 copies or more in the UK last week: actor David Jason's My Life (Century, 35,004); the multi-talented David Walliams' Demon Dentist (HarperCollins, 29,637), and the official annuals of pop stars One Direction (HarperCollins, 27,685) and Minecraft (Egmont, 25,476).

Helped by a spot in the Telegraph/W H Smith link-save promotion in which shoppers can buy a book for just £2.99 when buying a copy of the newspaper, Deborah Rodriguez' The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul (Sphere) is the highest new entry in this week's Official UK Top 50. Sales of the book, one of the surprise bestsellers of the year, jumped 145% week on week, to 12,095 copies sold. It joins the Official UK Top 50 in 17th place and takes third position in this week's Top 20 Mass-Market Fiction chart.

Other Top 50 new entries include: Let Me Off at the Top! (Century), the memoir of fictional "Anchorman" Ron Burgundy; the mass-market edition of Simon Toyne's The Tower (Harper), which enjoyed a spot in Tesco's £3 "Recommended Read" promotion; and Minecraft: Redstone Handbook (Egmont). The latter joins two other Minecraft titles in the Top 50: the Official Annual 2014 (Egmont, 7th place) and the Beginner's Handbook (Egmont, 23rd place).

Terry Pratchett's new novel, Raising Steam (Doubleday), sold 17,757 copies in the UK last week and tops the Original Fiction chart for a fourth consecutive week. It is publisher Transworld's third book to enjoy an unbroken run of that length this year—Pratchett following in the footsteps of Lee Child (with Never Go Back) and Dan Brown (with Inferno).

Thanks to a spot in the same promotion as Simon Toyne, David Baldacci's second Will Robie thriller, The Hit (Pan), takes top spot in this week's Mass-market Fiction chart. Martin Sixsmith's Philomena, by the same publisher, takes top spot in the Paperback Fiction chart. Just two other publishers have topped both charts in the same week in 2013: Orion and Hodder.

In total, £41.9m was spent on printed books in the UK last week—up 17.9% (£6.4m) on the previous week owing largely to a 25% boost in sales of hardback non-fiction books. Sales were down 7.3% (£3.3m) year on year, although spending within the children's sector was relatively flat in comparison to 2013.