Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rankin and Rebus stay top of the charts

In a week when Scots went to the polls to vote on independence, Ian Rankin's referendum-themed Saints of the Shadow Bible (Orion) retained its spot atop of the print bestseller charts.   

Rankin's 19th book featuring DI John Rebus sold 17,042 units through Nielsen BookScan last week to hit number one on the Official Top 50 for the second straight week. That is Rankin's sixth week as the overall number one since records began, and the first time he has claimed the top spot in consecutive weeks since he accomplished the feat with Resurrection Men (Orion) in October 2002.

Even with the attention surrounding the referendum throughout Britain and the unseasonably mild weather for much of the UK, overall book sales only suffered slightly week on week. Just under £25.9m was spent through the tills last week, a week-on-week decline of the barest of margins (-0.3%), yet this was a drop of 2.9% on the same week in 2013.

A beneficiary of the flat week was Ken Follett who, on the back of a whirlwind publicity tour, notched up his first ever Bookseller Original Fiction number one with Edge of Eternity (Macmillan), the concluding volume in his Century trilogy. Edge of Eternity shifted 11,822 hardback units for just under £111,000, meaning it, the Hardback Non-Fiction chart-topper, Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Comfort Food (Michael Joseph, £164,000) and Lee Child's Personal (Bantam, £100,000) were the only titles to sell £100,000 or more in the week.

Cookery, as might be expected in autumn and during another series of "The Great British Bake Off", was dominant in Hardback Non-Fiction; of the top 12 books in Non-Fiction, eight of them were from the cookery sector. In third  and fourth place in HB Non-Fiction were two books directly boosted by "GBBO": Linda Collister's Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking (BBC, 5,140 units) and Mary Berry's Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect (DK, 4,759). Further down non-fiction, there were strong weeks from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Light and Easy (Bloomsbury, 4,511) and Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More (Ebury, 4,278).

Second place in HB Non-Fiction with 8,544 units sold was Guinness World Records 2015 (GWR), in the 60th anniversary year of the annual. Since records began in 1998, the Guinness brand has shifted over £72.5m through BookScan, and each of the last seven editions of the main annual have sold in excess of 475,000 units.    

In the overall Children's chart, Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook (Egmont, 5,335 copies) returns to the top after it was edged out by Terry Pratchett's Dragons at Crumbling Castle (Doubleday) the previous week. A Minecraft book has held the top Children's spot in 31 of the 38 weeks thus far in 2014.

Gayle Forman's If I Stay (Definitions, 5,036 units) returns to the top spot of Children's and Young Adult Fiction, whilst the Simon & Schuster's Loom Magic franchise continues to dominate in Children's Pre-School, with Becky Thomas and Monica Sweeney's Loom Magic Creatures! claiming number one, selling 5,036 copies.

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