Titles decline during France's "rentrée littéraire"

Titles decline during France's "rentrée littéraire"

The number of titles published in France during the "rentrée littéraire" declined to 704 this year from 714 in 2010, but the number of publishers producing them rose to a record 231 from 208, according to market research firm GfK.

Behind the 11% increase are the small and medium-sized houses, which published one to three titles, noted Olivier Raynal, entertainment director at GfK Retail and Technology France.

The rentrée littéraire is an institution in France. It marks the end of the summer holiday period and runs from August to around 15th October. It is expected to help boost book sales by more than €23m between August and the end of the year, added Sébastien Rouault, head of the book group. Even so, the rentrée littéraire still only adds 2.5% to annual book sales.

The biggest seller this year was Delphine der Vigan's Rien ne s'oppose à la nuit (Nothing Stops the Night) published by Lattès, and was followed by Amélie Nothomb's Tuer le pere (Kill the Father), published by Albin Michel. Jonathen Franzen's Freedom (Editions de l'Olivier), ranked fourth, and Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, volume 2 (Belfond),
ranked seventh.

However, GfK cautioned  bestseller turnover will not be finalised until the literary prize season is over. Statistics over the past six years show winners of the Goncourt prize sell an average of 400,000 copies, Rouault added. Since 2005, the biggest-selling prizewinner is Muriel Barbery's L'élégrance du herisson (The Elegance of the Hedgehog), which was published in French by Gallimard. The book did not win the Goncourt, but it did win several other prizes.