A deluge of 800 new hardbacks hit bookshops last Thursday but it was a translated crime novel by the late Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson which saw off celebrity autobiographies from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Kay and Chris Evans to jostle its way to the top of the book charts.
Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest soared into second position in the UK’s book charts last week, selling 34,152 copies in just three days, according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan. It came in behind Dan Brown’s thriller The Lost Symbol, which remained in the number one spot for the third week in a row with sales of 79,008 copies. Larsson’s novel, the third in his bestselling Millennium crime trilogy, follows the adventures of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. It was one of the 800 hardbacks published last Thursday – 10 times the daily average, which has led to the day being christened Super Thursday by the book trade.
Waterstone’s, which changed window displays in its stores across the country overnight on Wednesday, replacing older titles with new books from the likes of Kay, Jeremy Clarkson and Audrey Niffenegger, described the Larsson novel as its “runaway success”.
“I saw somebody buy four copies and I heard from one store where somebody bought 10,” said spokesperson Jon Howells. “Our Piccadilly store opened an hour early, at 8am, for Stieg Larsson – we’re not talking Harry Potter or Dan Brown numbers but there was a definite steady flow of people wanting to get a copy or two.”
Terry Pratchett’s new Discworld novel Unseen Academicals took third place in last week’s book charts, with fellow contenders for Christmas number one including Kay’s second volume of memoir Saturday Night Peter, Driven to Distraction by Jeremy Clarkson and Guinness World Records coming in behind.
“Super Thursday” saw an extra 180,000 books sold last week compared to the week before, according to BookScan, with an extra £3.6m taken through the tills. “It’s the first big week of Christmas book sales,” said BookScan research and development analyst André Breedt. “It’s the starting pistol for Christmas,” agreed Howells.
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Posted on The Guardian Website 6-10-09