Scotland bears the brunt as book sales fall to weather
02.03.10 | Philip Stone

Transworld has retained its fiction number ones in yet another poor week for the book trade. Both Lee Child’s Gone Tomorrow (Bantam) and Joanna Trollope’s The Other Family (Doubleday) stay atop their respective mass-market and original fiction charts in a period when book sales fell 7.3% week-on-week, to £26.4m—down 6.8% on the same week last year.

It comes at the end of an incredibly poor opening two months to the year, when the British weather kept book-buyers off the high street but didn’t necessarily lead them online. According to Nielsen BookScan point-of-sale data (comprising more than 8,000 UK book retail outlets), £249.4m was spent on books during the first nine weeks of 2010 (to 27th February), down 6.6% year on year and down 9% on the comparative period in 2008. Bookshops in the North have been worst hit, with sales in Scotland down approximately 13%, according to BookScan regional data.

Within the charts, Child’s 13th Jack Reacher thriller was once again the bestselling book at UK book retailers last week, selling 30,009 copies—marginally up on the 29,604 figure it posted the previous week. Val McDermid’s Fever of the Bone (Sphere) takes second position thanks to a spot in W H Smith’s half-price book of the week promotion while Marina Lewycka’s We Are All Made of Glue (Penguin) climbs into third thanks to spots in both W H Smith’s £2.99 if you buy the Times” promotion and Waterstone’s “link save” offer.

Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl (Black Swan) sits in fourth position overall, while the film tie-in edition of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (Picador) falls one place into fifth position. This week’s highest new entry is Lesley Lokko’s Rich Girl, Poor Girl (Orion), the Scotland-born novelist’s fourth book. It débuts in 24th position overall, the author’s highest ever Official UK Top 50 placing.

With the half-term break coming to an end, sales of children’s books dropped sharply week-on-week. According to BookScan data, spending on the bestselling 10 children’s books declined by more than a quarter week on week, from £1.2m to £900,000.

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