Tag: bestsellers

2017 in review

2017’s regional bestsellers – from Nielsen BookScan

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:

Continue reading

Amazon: How to get your book to appear alongside the Best Sellers [Winning blog idea July]

Each month BookMachine offers a community member, with great ideas, the chance to write on the site. July’s winner was Richard McCartney, with his tips on making it onto the Best Sellers list.

Continue reading

2017 in review

Where we read what: UK regions and their reading habits

While most popular books tend to have their sales spread throughout the country, I always find it interesting to look at how sales differ when moving from region to region in the UK – in BookScan we can separate sales into East of England, Lancashire, London, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South West, Southern, Wales & the West and Yorkshire. This year, Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 is comfortably sitting at number one in every region, followed by the paperback of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train everywhere but the South West – Eden Project: The Guide has managed to outsell the thriller in that pocket of the UK in 2016 so far.

Looking at a selection of bestsellers for each region, only four titles appear in every top ten: Lean in 15, The Girl on the Train, The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams and Make Me by Lee Child. Here’s some more regional differences that stand out:

  • Three titles make it into the top ten for Northern Ireland but no other region: the film tie-in version of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Awful Auntie by David Walliams and Old School by Jeff Kinney. From another angle, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet ranks in the top ten books everywhere BUT Northern Ireland.
  • Ella Woodward’s second book Deliciously Ella Every Day is number six in London but beyond position ten everywhere else. On the other hand, London is the only region where Mary Berry: Foolproof Cooking does not appear in the top ten.
  • Scotland has shown more of a liking for John Grisham than other bestsellers this year – Rogue Lawyer is number ten when combining sales from Central Scotland, Northern Scotland and Border but further down in all other regions.
  • Colouring book sales have continued into 2016, even if they are a bit more subdued than last year’s phenomenon – but that hasn’t kept the Harry Potter Colouring Book from grabbing a place in Lancashire’s top ten chart.
  • As the year progresses, World Book Day titles usually relinquish their bestseller positions, but Roald Dahl’s The Great Mouse Plot still takes a spot in the North East’s top ten, and Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape by Cavan Scott appears in both the North East and Yorkshire.
  • Another Yorkshire variance is the presence of Sylvia Day – One with You is number nine there but not within the top ten anywhere else.
  • East of England, Wales & the West and the Midlands all have the same titles in their top ten lists, corresponding to the top titles in the overall UK, but no region has those titles in the same order.

And that’s just for the first half of 2016 – I had a brief look at all-time bestsellers, and while Fifty Shades of Grey is the best-selling book in the overall UK and most individual regions since BookScan began, The Da Vinci Code takes the crown in London, Scotland and Southern.

So where should you live based on your bookshelves?

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.


What makes a bestseller?

Jonny Geller is a literary agent and joint CEO of Curtis Brown. Here he follows up with some thoughts following a recent Tedx talk he gave, ‘What Makes a Bestseller?’.

Print sales are up. Independent publishers are scooping major literary prizes on a regular basis. Attendance figures to The London Book Fair are up. The Creative Industries are worth a staggering £84billion and publishing takes a proud £10bn of it.

What’s not to like?

Except, we are in danger of throwing much of it away.

I recently gave a Tedx talk at Tedx Oxford on “What Makes a Bestseller?” – take a look if you have spare 15 minutes. I talked about the mysterious combination of factors that conspire to hit the zeitgeist and make books pop and hit the mainstream, but it did make me think about how literary agents are in danger of becoming risk averse. The funnel to publication seems to be getting ever narrower.

What I didn’t say in my talk was how publishing can sometimes get in the way of books. We all say we look for new, exciting voices that will enlighten and inspire a new generation of readers and yet we find ourselves all racing for the middle, veering towards the same vanilla, reading group friendly fiction.


The agent blames the publishers for excessive caution. The publishers blame the booksellers for second guessing what they think their customers want. The reviewers – well they just keep getting sacked.

Let’s face it. If the publishing industry closed tomorrow and did not produce another new book for a whole year, there would still be too many books for us to buy, read or sell.

Publishing is breathing its own ecosystem of books that publishers and agents want to see and read, but are we forgetting about the reader? Are we supplying books readers want to read?

Last year, when I read The Martian and saw Dr Foster on BBC, I began to worry about this issue. I enjoyed both, but guiltily. I had a creeping unease that had either project come into my office, I would have asked for edits to “clean them up” a bit. And I would have probably ruined both. People were talking about Doctor Foster at the water cooler because of its uneven and contradictory moments. But that is exactly what made this familiar story of adultery, different. Would we have edited out the very thing that made these stories stand out? Sometimes, books come to the reader directly from self-publishing because we in publishing do not think they work to our criteria.

Editorial taste is, rightly, a highly prized commodity in publishing – the battle between sales/marketing versus editorial vision is often talked about. What we in the publishing industry need to think about is: why we are so reactive? Are we listening to what readers want – originality, difference, dare I say, diverse voices? The bigger the publishers get, the more likely decisions become “corporate” and “strategic”.

The only “strategy” a publisher needs is to publish good books better.

The rise of the self-publishing phenomenon has resulted in, counter-intuitively, caution. The thinking is, I suppose, that these books will come to the big publishers eventually. Publishing is about sticking your neck out and daring people to buy the book you invested in.

Of course we all want dead certs based on what has sold before, but if we are not selling original material that only could have come from this country at this moment of time, and all agree to give it a chance, we won’t have much of an industry to boast about in years to come.

4 tips for hitting #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller list

This is a Guest Post by Angela Clarke on building author brands, social media and Amazon’s algorithm. Angela is the Amazon Fashion Chart bestselling author of Confessions of a Fashionista. Her first crime novel, Follow Me (Avon), is out this December.

Continue reading

The Girl on the Train shatters sales records

Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train has broken UK sales records this week, claiming its 20th consecutive week atop the hardback fiction bestseller lists. It overtakes Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which stayed at number one for 19 weeks following its release in September 2009, to become the longest reigning bestseller since Nielsen BookScan began monitoring sales in 2001. Not only has it stayed at the top of the hardback chart for longer than any other title, it is second only to Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – which stayed at number one in the paperback chart for a jaw-dropping 65 weeks – in most weeks held at the top of any book chart.

Continue reading

This week in Fifty Shades: sales records, music records, Bret Easton Ellis

It continues to dominate (ohoho) seemingly every news story to come out of the publishing world, so let’s get all of this week’s Fifty Shades of Grey news out of the way in one quick go, shall we? It’ll be just like ripping off an Elastoplast. Unless that’s the kind of thing you’re into, in which case, ew.

Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Grey fastest selling UK paperback no one admits to buying

In news that, for the sake of hilarity, we’ll attribute to The Daily Mail, EL James’ piece of Twilight slash fiction Fifty Shades of Grey has well and truly transcended its origins as a word of mouth e-book success story (most likely whispered about behind a theatrically raised hand) to become the fastest selling UK paperback since sales records began. Having topped the UK bestseller list for four straight weeks, sold more than 550,000 copies (over 100,000 of which were shifted in a single week) and overtaken the likes of J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown and, funnily enough, Stephenie Meyer, the book is now on track to sell over a million copies in the UK alone by year’s end.

Continue reading

Get the latest news and event info straight to your inbox


+44 207 183 2399

Incubation at Ravensbourne | 6 Penrose Way | Greenwich Peninsula | SE10 0EW

© 2019 BookMachine We love your books