Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wolf Hall becomes top Booker winner
22.12.09 Philip Stone in The Bookseller

Thanks to strong sales at independent retailers, as well as Waterstone's and, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) is now officially the most popular Man Booker winner since records began.

According to Nielsen BookScan data, Wolf Hall has sold 137,150 copies since its win 10 weeks ago, 28,234 copies more (25.9%) than 2002 winner, Yann Martel's Life of Pi (Canongate), managed over the same period in 2002 and some 28,616 copies more (26.4%) than Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger (Atlantic) sold over the comparative 10-week period. The next most popular Booker winner since BookScan records began in 1998 was D B C Pierre's Vernon God Little (Faber), which sold 76,669 copies, across all editions, in the 10 weeks following its Booker win.

However, although Wolf Hall may be the most popular winner in comparative sales-since-win terms, it still has some way to go to catch up with the 1.2 million life sales of The Life of Pi, which was confirmed in a recent issue of The Bookseller (11th December) as being the 27th bestselling book of the decade—or the 11th bestselling novel of the Noughties (one place behind Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (Vintage) but one in front of Kate Mosse's Labyrinth (Orion)).
Wolf Hall sits fourth on the list of the bestselling hardback fiction titles of 2009, behind Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (Bantam Press), Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals (Doubleday) and Martina Cole's Hard Girls (Headline), but in front of the likes of Wilbur Smith, Katie Price and John Grisham.

Life sales of Mantel's 10th novel currently total 173,060 copies across all editions—including 163,938 copies for the hardback edition. Comparatively, Mantel's previous novel, Beyond Black (Fourth Estate), sold just 2,134 copies in hardback according to BookScan.

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