Michael Kogge’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dean & Son) has ascended into the UK Official Top 50 number one spot, selling 62,104 copies through Nielsen BookScan’s TCM. As the eighth Star Wars film “The Last Jedi” was released on DVD and Blu-ray last week, the book’s stunning sales may have been helped by a buy-the-DVD-get-the-book-free deal at Sainsbury’s. Other film tie-in titles, such as Andy Weir’s The Martian (Del Rey) and Jane Hawking’s Travelling to Infinity (Alma), have benefitted from similar deals upon their own adaptation’s releases. The Last Jedi follows in the footsteps of its Star Wars predecessors—Star Wars: Rogue One (Egmont) topped the book charts in mid-April 2017, and the Star Wars Expert Guide (DK Children's) hot-footed it into the top spot the same week in 2016 that “The Force Awakens” was released on DVD.
Despite slipping to second place, sales of Lee Child’s The Midnight Line (Bantam) ballooned 33% in volume on its launch week. At 47,819 copies sold, this is Child’s biggest-ever seven-day volume for a paperback—and only 995 copies fewer than the author’s all-time record, achieved by The Midnight Line’s hardback in November 2017.
The rest of the latest Richard & Judy Book Club tranche at W H Smith followed Child’s trajectory, with Erin Kelly’s He Said/She Said (Hodder), Susie Steiner’s Persons Unknown (The Borough Press) and Dinah Jefferies’ The Sapphire Widow (Viking) bounding into the top 10. In fact, aside from The Last Jedi, the top of the chart was wall-to-wall paperback fiction, with David Lagercrantz’s The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Maclehose Press) and Santa Montefiore’s The Last Secret of the Deverills (Simon & Schuster) both jumping in volume on their launch weeks and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins) selling dead on 20,000 copies.
Ruth Jones’ Never Greener (Bantam) swiped the Original Fiction number one, shifting 5,511 copies and hitting 18th place in the Top 50 in just its second week on sale.
Both the non-fiction chart top spots were reclaimed by familiar faces (or book covers): Tom Kerridge’s Lose Weight for Good (Absolute), still the bestselling book of 2018, leapfrogged back into the Hardback Non-Fiction number one and displaced Mary Berry’s Classic (BBC), with Hans Rosling’s Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World (Sceptre) zipping up to second place. In Paperback Non-Fiction, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens (Vintage) boomeranged back into the top spot for a 19th week. Its 2015 paperback edition is now nearing 600,000 copies sold.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi became the third new title to ascend to the Children’s number one spot in as many weeks, after Ben Brooks and Quinton Winter’s Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different (Quercus) hit the top spot a week ago and Fiona Watts and Rachel Wells' That's Not My Chick (Usborne) hunted out the number one the week before.
In the Pre-School chart, Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday (Macmillan Children's) held the number one spot for a second week. Over in Children’s and Young Adult Fiction, Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens (Penguin) charted twice, in both original and film tie-in format—its adaptation “Love, Simon” has recently been released in the UK. But Alesha Dixon’s Lightning Girl (Scholastic) was the highest new entry aside from The Last Jedi, bringing the tally of books-written-by-Britain’s-Got-Talent-judges to eight (with David Walliams accounting for seven).
The print market declined marginally on the week before, slipping 1.3% in value to £24.7m and 0.8% in volume to 3.03 million books sold. But up against 2017's Easter bank holiday, last week held up well, improving 0.9% in value year on year.