Wally on top as World Book Day sales soar

Wally on top as World Book Day sales soar

This year’s crop of eight £1 World Book Day titles were once again the bestselling books in the UK last week, selling a combined 229,530 copies via cash, credit-card and book token redemptions.

Martin Handford’s Where’s Wally Now? (Walker) once again proved the pick of the bunch, registering sales of 37,310 copies according to Nielsen BookScan data. It takes pole position in this week's Official UK Top 50, ahead of Roald Dahl's Fantabulous Facts (Puffin, 32,066 copies), and Holly Webb's Magic Molly: The Clever Little Kitten (Scholastic, 29066 copies)

To date, this year’s crop of £1 books have sold a combined 597,000 copies—up an impressive 45% on last year’s selections and similar to 2007 levels when the £1 titles went on to sell 942,000 copies by the end of the year.

This year’s Quick Reads are also proving much more popular than last year—sales are up 14% year on year, to 63,600 copies sold, and are currently selling at their highest rate since 2009. Maeve Binchy’s Full House (Orion) and Alexander McCall Smith’s The Cleverness of Ladies (Abacus) are the bestsellers of 2012, registering sales of 19,900 and 11,300 copies respectively.

Jennifer Worth’s Call the Midwife (Phoenix) was once again the bestselling non-World Book Day book of the week, scoring sales of 22,500 copies across all print editions. The BBC adaptation of Worth’s nursing memoir has helped sales of the original work rocket 8,850% year on year in 2012, from 2,017 to 180,700 copies sold, but the BBC’s influence on book sales doesn’t end with Worth.

A second series of the Anne Robinson-fronted “My Life in Books” has sent a number of books recommended by celebrities on the week-day show soaring up the bestseller charts.

Books such as Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (recommended by comedian Chris Addison); William Boyd’s Any Human Heart (recommended by actor Phil Davis); and Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything (recommended by Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman), all climbed 1,000 places or more in BookScan’s weekly bestseller chart, while Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does it (newsreader Kate Silverton’s pick), climbed more than 6,000 places in the chart.

One of the biggest boosts, though, went to Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun. Actor Keith Allen described the post-Katrina tale of New Orleans resident Abdulrahman Zeitoun as “harrowing” and “brilliantly written”, telling viewers, “you will cry. I swear to you, you will cry”. The book climbed more than 17,000 places in the chart week on week.

Two high-profile American novelists top this week's fiction bestseller lists. James Patterson and Maxine Paetro's 11th Hour (Century) was the bestselling hardback novel in the UK for a second week and tops this week's Original Fiction chart, while Danielle Steel scores her first number one in almost a year in the Mass-market Fiction bestseller list. Sales of her 44 Charles Street (Corgi) benefitted from a spot in W H Smith's half-price "book of the week" promotion.

Actress Lisa Faulkner has become the fifth female food writer to score a Hardback Non-fiction number one in 10 years—following on from Delia Smith, Mary Berry, Linda Collister and Ching-He Huang. Faulkner's Recipes from My Mother for My Daughter (S&S) sold 6,565 copies in the UK last week, just 86 copies more than the next bestselling hardback non-fiction work, David Essex's Over the Moon (Virgin).

It scores publisher Simon and Schuster its first Hardback Non-fiction number once since August 2010 when Rhonda Byrne's The Power topped the list. Her latest book, The Magic, débuts in third position in this week's Top 20 Paperback Non-fiction bestseller list behind Call the Midwife and St John Greene's Mum's List (Penguin).

In total, £24.9m was spent at UK booksellers in the seven days to 10th March—up 0.3% (£65,000) on the previous week and down just 3.1% (£0.8m) on the same week last year—the trade’s strongest week of the year thus far.