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Monday, December 31, 2007

Bestsellers of 2007

The Guardian ran a list of the top 100 selling books of 2007 (as of week ending 16 December) so I finally have a couple of sales figures for this year's annuals. Only two made the top 100: Doctor Who: The Official Annual 2008 at #54, released on 5 September, with sales of 207,704 and The Beano Annual 2008 at #88, released the same day, with sales of 161,123.

To put these in context, J. K. Rowling's final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was at both #1 and #2 (the children's and adult editions with different dust jackets) with combined sales of 4,063,663. At #3 was The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld with sales of 797,081. The Guinness Book of Records 2008 sold 543,206 to reach #7. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn & Hal Iggulden, released in June 2006, continued to sell well and reached #98 with sales of 148,149.

The Times has noted sales for The Girls' Book: How to be the Best at Everything by Juliana Foster (165,660) and The Boys' Book: How to be the Best at Everything by Guy Macdonald & Dominique Enright (116,119), both published by Buster Books, and both as of late November. The former (which ended the year with sales of 187,037) was partly serialised in The Daily Mail and isn't a children's book per se, I would have thought. Not quite sure what you'd classify them as... retro children's book maybe? None of the latest slew of similar titles made it into the top 100, although the final position in the chart had sales of 145,699 so that's no indication that one or other of them didn't score well with readers.

The annuals will continue to sell well for a couple of months yet as they fall rapidly in price shortly before Christmas (Amazon have the Beano Annual and other annuals such as The Bash Street Kids Annual 2008 at £1.99). Sales are, however, down on last year. Around this time in 2006, the Doctor Who Official Annual had sold 271,500 and The Beano Annual had sold 187,000.

Something that surprised me turned up during a bit of digging I've been doing while writing the introductions for the next Trigan Empire collection. H. Rider Haggard's most famous novel, King Solomon's Mines, is a classic that has never been out of print; it was first published in 1885 and, by that September, had sold 30,000 copies. By the time of his death in 1925, more than 650,000 copies had been printed. averaging some 16,250 a year. The initial sales -- maybe 40,000 by the end of its first year? -- are dwarfed by things like My Booky Wook, Russell Brand's autobiography, which has sold 266,324. I somehow doubt that My Booky Wook will still be selling in 120 year's time but it just goes to show how book selling has changed over the years.

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