2017’s regional bestsellers – from Nielsen BookScan

2017 in review

We often report on the overall UK bestsellers through BookScan, which in 2017 so far are showing a good mix of fiction, non-fiction and children’s, featuring both long-established names and successful debuts:

  1. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  2. The World’s Worst Children 2 by David Walliams
  3. Night School by Lee Child
  4. 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
  5. Blob by David Walliams
  6. I See You by Clare Mackintosh
  7. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  8. Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks
  9. Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams
  10. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

But when we break that down to a regional level, variations emerge, with local ties often driving sales for books that don’t appear in the country’s top ten. This can translate to which category leads sales as well: General & Literary Fiction is the largest category for UK print book sales in 2017 so far, as well as for London, Southern, South West and Wales & the West, but Crime, Thriller & Adventure takes over in Scotland, East of England, Lancashire, North East, Northern Ireland and Yorkshire. The Midlands breaks away from the adult fiction pattern, with Children’s Fiction bringing in the most sales there this year.

Here’s a tour around the UK via bestselling books through BookScan:

  • I See You by Claire Mackintosh makes it into the top ten everywhere but Northern Ireland. On the other hand, Northern Ireland is the only region to feature The Missing Wife by Sheila O’Flanagan, Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Gangsta Granny by David Walliams.
  • Sapiens may be number seven for the whole country, but it’s number one in London, with the author’s follow-up Homo Deus also making it into the region’s top ten. Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall ranks high in London as well, with over 40% of its 2017 sales coming from the capital.
  • Regional guides are making an impact in the South West and the East of England, with Eden Project: the Guide the bestseller for the former and the IWM Duxford Guidebook included in the top ten titles for the latter.
  • Blob has held on to an overall UK bestseller spot longer than World Book Day titles usually do, and on a regional level it’s joined by Where’s Wally? The Fantastic Journey in the North East and Peppa Loves World Book Day in Yorkshire.
  • Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train has remained in the top ten in Lancashire into 2017, while her follow-up Into the Water grabs a place in the North East.
  • Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet holds on to a bestseller spot in Wales & the West but is beyond the top ten everywhere else.
  • Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin is third in Scotland, following past Rebus novels that have done well there, and is also joined by Out of Bounds by Val McDermid.
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult just misses the UK top ten at 11th, but does feature among the bestsellers in Lancashire and Scotland.
  • Mary Berry Everyday is number 12 across the country this year, but makes it to the top ten in East of England, the Midlands, Northern Ireland, South West, Southern, Wales & the West and Yorkshire.
  • Finally, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry is 13th for the UK but cracks the top ten in London, East of England and South West.

Jaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends.

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