Helen Fielding’s third Bridget Jones novel – Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy – has returned to the top of the UK hardback fiction charts for the first time since its release in October. The long-awaited book, published 14 years after prior instalment The Edge of Reason, spent three weeks at number one following its release, fuelled by Super Thursday first day sales of more than 46,000 copies across all formats. Whilst it hasn’t quite maintained that level of success (if it had, it would currently be nearing the 3,000,000 copies sold mark), presumably the onslaught of the Christmas shopping season has had some part to play in its selling 23,000 copies this past week.
It takes pole position back from another consistently strong chart performer (and, like Fielding’s novels, inheritor of a massive pre-existing fanbase, making it another sure thing, Christmas present-wise), Terry Pratchett’s 40th Discworld novel Raising Steam, which sold 20,468 copies this past week, down almost 50% from its first week sales of 36,000 this time last month.
Third place goes to Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible, selling 11,885 copies in its fifth week of release. Like Mad About the Boy, the novel is another return for a beloved central character, in this case Detective Inspector John Rebus, revived by Rankin last year in Standing in Another Man’s Grave having initially been retired in 2007’s Exit Music. Like Raising Steam, it’s the latest instalment in a long-running series, marking Rebus’ 19th novel-length appearance (Rankin has also featured the character in several short stories) and the fourth to feature Rankin’s latest protagonist, Detective Inspector Malcolm Fox of the Complaints and Conduct Department of Lothian and Borders Police. So if you’re looking for a surefire Christmas bestseller, write a load of massively successful books over a period of some years, take some time off then bring back your most popular character. Easy.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.