The Guardian newspaper has presented the aggregate information on physical book sales in Britain in 2011.
Three already elderly Stieg Larsson thrillers topped last year’s all-year bestsellers table, followed by Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals (the Christmas No 1) and Guinness World Records, with One Day and The Help just outside the top 10. Glance at 2011’s chart, and you could be forgiven for wondering if 12 months have really passed.
For this was a year when old books saw off new ones, and paperbacks sent hardbacks packing. The same seven titles merely change places, with Larsson’s musty trio and David Nicholls’s and Kathryn Stockett’s two-year-old novels all given renewed sales muscle by movie versions.
Interestingly – to me – the combined sales (some 23,500 books) of the two versions of Rosemary Sutcliff‘s 1950s historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth, whilst way down in the full charts, put her in the top twenty (by volume) of the historical and mythological fiction category. On top of that about her publisher Oxford University Press sold about 6,700 copies of The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles (which also includes The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers). Highest seller by volume in historical fiction was Philippa Gregory’s The Red Queen, with nearly 200,000! And in there in the top ten is Rosemary Sutcliff fan Ben Kane. Congratulations!
In children’s fiction, which embraces The Wimpy Kids books as well as J K Rowling, Enid Blyton and Alex Scarrow, (to highlight some very different genres of children’s book), such a volume of sales only allows Rosemary to creep in to the top hundred in about 90th place for The Eagle of the Ninth (although I have not looked to see if there are any duplicate versions of the same title in those above or below her ‘position’).
Historical Fiction Top Twenty
|The Red Queen||Philippa Gregory||193,263||Paperback|
|My Last Duchess||Daisy Goodwin||108,176||Paperback|
|Death of Kings||Bernard Cornwell||64,876||Hardback|
|The Confession of Katherine Howard||Suzannah Dunn||63,259||Paperback|
|Empire of Silver||Conn Iggulden||62,737||Paperback|
|the Lady of the Rivers||Philippa Gregory||51,994||Hardback|
|The Road to Rome: Forgotten Legion Chronicles||Ben Kane||50,137||Paperback|
|The White Queen||Philippa Gregory||46,840||Paperback|
|The Captive Queen||Alison Weir||42,783||Paperback|
|Heresy||S. J. Parris||42,029||Paperback|
|Wolf Hall||Hilary Mantel||35,516||Paperback|
|Rome: The Emperor’s Spy||M. C. Scott||26,650||Paperback|
|Revelation:Shardlake||C. J. Sansom||25,711||Paperback|
|Secrets of the Tudor Court||Darcey Bonnette||24,020||Paperback|
|The Sisters Brothers||Patrick deWitt||23,740||Paperback|
|The Eagle of the Ninth||Rosemary Sutcliff||23,397||Paperback|