Transworld debut S J Watson tops the charts

Faber Academy graduate S J Watson's début novel, Before I Go to Sleep, has stormed to the summit of this week's Official UK Top 50, becoming only the third début novel to top the bestseller chart in five years.

The mass-market edition of the thriller, a member of both the current WHS-exclusive Richard and Judy book club and the forthcoming Channel 4 "TV Book Club" spring season, sold 18,166 copies at UK booksellers last week, and tops the Official UK Top 50 ahead of Transworld stablemate Joanna Trollope. Trollope's Daughters-in-law sold 15,554 copies last week, helped by a spot in W H Smith's half-price "book of the week" promotion.

Before I Go to Sleep, the bestselling hardback début novel of 2011, is the first of eight titles to go under the Richard and Judy Spring 2012 Book Club spotlight. All eight novels earn Bookseller bestseller status this week. Jojo Moyes' Me Before You (Michael Joseph) takes third position in The Official UK Top 50 with 8,273 sales, with Louisa Young's My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (Harper), Mons Kallentoft's Midwinter Sacrifice (Hodder), and Rachel Simon's The Story of Beautiful Girl (Windmill) all also earning Top 50 bestseller status.

The three remaining R&J titles, Paula McLain's The Paris Wife (Virago), Amanda Brooke's Yesterday's Sun (Harper) and Alison Littlewood's A Cold Season (Jo Fletcher Books), take positions one-though-three in this week's Heatseekers chart—a ranking of the bestselling novels by authors yet to crack The Official UK Top 50.

Approximately four-and-a-half pence in every pound spent on a novel last week went towards a copy of one of the eight novels in the WHS-exclusive club. Sales of the eight totalled 49,100 copies across all print editions, or £276,400 in value terms.

With help from a spot in Amazon.co.uk's better-than-half-price "deal of the week" promotion, Scottish thriller writer Stuart MacBride's ninth novel, Birthdays for the Dead (HarperCollins), was the bestselling hardback novel in the UK last week. The book sold 6,803 copies in just three days last week, scoring publisher HarperCollins its first Original Fiction number one since George R R Martin's A Dance with Dragons in July last year.

New novels by Karen Rose and Clive Cussler (with Graham Brown) take spots two and three in the Original Fiction chart, which also welcomes new works by Elizabeth George, Kathy Reichs and Peter May.

TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has scored his first ever Bookseller number one, but only just. River Cottage Veg Every Day! (Bloomsbury), which is selling at twice the rate of his previous Every Day! book, takes top spot in this week's Hardback Non-fiction chart. It outsold second-placed Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy (HarperColllins) by just a single copy (5,487 to 5,486). It is the first time publisher Bloomsbury has topped the Hardback Non-fiction chart since December 2004, when Sheila Hancock's The Two of Us scored a number one in the run-up to Christmas.

Pierre Dukan's new Dukan Diet Life Plan (Hodder) is the only new entry in this week's Top 20 Hardback Non-fiction chart, while the French nutritionist's The Dukan Diet climbs one place to pole position in this week's Paperback Non-fiction chart. Paul McKenna's new work, I Can Make You Smarter (Bantam Press), takes second place in the paperback chart.

Michael Morpurgo's War Horse was the bestselling children's book in the UK last week, selling 15,179 copies across all print editions. However, overall sales of children's books slumped week-on-week. According to an analysis of Nielsen BookScan Top 5,000 bestseller chart for the seven days to 7th January, spending on children's books fell 15% on the previous week, due largely to a big decline in sales of firm-sale annuals as bookshops' post-Christmas overstocks run out.

Overall, sales of printed books rose slightly week on week, by 0.8% (£0.6m) week on week, to £23.1m, but were down 17% (£4.8m) on the same week last year. This is due to a huge shortfall in spending on paperback fiction year-on-year, with sales through the top 5,000 down by a third.