Walliams racks up mammoth sales as The Ice Monster skates into number one

Walliams racks up mammoth sales as The Ice Monster skates into number one

David Walliams and Tony Ross’ The Ice Monster (HarperCollins) has blasted into the UK Official Top 50 number one spot, selling 111,057 copies in its launch week—up 20% on 2017 title Bad Dad’s first three days. The Ice Monster, which racked up the author-illustrator duo’s 40th week in the overall top spot, becomes the fastest-selling title since J K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Little, Brown) in summer 2016. 

The Ice Monster was only 1,615 copies away from a Walliams record, with Bad Dad’s first full week on sale, at 112,672 copies sold, still the author’s highest single-week record. Generally, Walliams titles tend to jump by around 20% in volume the week after their launch week, with a full seven days on the shelves under their belts—yet, earlier this year, The World’s Worst Children 3 was the first to peak straight out of the gate, dropping 40% in volume in its second week. However, if The Ice Monster does improve next week along the same lines as Bad Dad did last year, it could rack up the highest single-week sales for any non-Harry Potter title in the last three years. 

Is it too late for Walliams to swipe the bestselling title of the year from HarperCollins stablemate Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, though? Bad Dad sold 651,264 copies in 2017, and the Costa First Novel Award winner has already surpassed 750,000 copies sold. In contrast, The Ice Monster’s path to the Christmas number one looks clear, with only Michelle Obama’s Becoming (Viking) capable of causing a potential upset. 

It was also a record week for Lee Child, whose 23rd Jack Reacher title Past Tense (Bantam) rampaged into the Original Fiction number one. At 58,711 copies sold, Past Tense has improved on 2017’s The Midnight Line by 20% in volume. It is also the biggest selling week for any Original Fiction title since Dan Brown’s Origin (Bantam) in October 2017. With 2018’s biggest-selling hardback fiction title Jojo Moyes’ Still Me (Michael Joseph), on 95,142 copies sold, Past Tense is already 60% of the way to de-throning it. 

Christmas has well and truly begun in both the Mass Market Fiction and Pre-School top 20s—Katie Fforde’s The Christmas Stocking and Other Stories (Arrow) and Heidi Swain’s Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland (Simon & Schuster) joined Dilly Court’s The Christmas Rose (HarperCollins), Karen Swan’s The Christmas Lights (Pan) and Katie Flynn’s Christmas at Tuppenny Corner (Arrow) among paperback fiction, while the Pre-School chart saw backlist titles The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas (Red Fox), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (HarperCollins Children's) and That’s Not My Reindeer (Usborne) re-enter alongside newer festive fare such as Peppa Meets Father Christmas (Ladybird) and We're Going on an Elf Chase (Bloomsbury Children's).

Aside from Walliams, the new entries in the Children’s and Young Adult Fiction chart were very much of-the-moment—Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman’s Poppy Field (Scholastic), marking the centenary of the end of World War I, charted eighth and Enid Blyton’s Winter Stories (Hodder Children's) entered the chart in 18th.

The Hardback Non-Fiction top 20’s top five remained the same for a second week running, with Guinness World Records 2019 once again topping the chart. Two weeks is nothing compard to the Paperback Non-Fiction chart, however, which saw Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt (Picador) take the top spot for a 29th week. 

The print market rocketed to its highest weekly value and second-highest volume figure for 2018 to date, at 4.01 million books sold for £34.9m. However, it trailed behind the same week in 2017, dropping 0.4% in value and 1.9% in volume. For the year to date, the market is now just 0.07% ahead in volume, and 1.4% up in value.