all across the universe
Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

US far outsmarts UK with 2011 non-fiction choices

Go down

US far outsmarts UK with 2011 non-fiction choices Empty US far outsmarts UK with 2011 non-fiction choices

Post  eddie Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:04 am

US far outsmarts UK with non-fiction choices

This year's US and UK non-fiction bestseller charts tell a fascinating story - and UK readers don't emerge well from the comparison

US far outsmarts UK with 2011 non-fiction choices Bookcase2
Books on shelves, in sunlight and shadows. Photograph: H Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

The bestselling ebook of the year in the UK? Not James Patterson, not Lee Child, not even Stieg Larsson. No: the Bookseller reports that Benjamin Daniels's Confessions of a GP, "a witty insight into the life of a family doctor", is our ebook number one for 2011. Despite selling just 8,500 print copies, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to the book trade magazine, which puts the title's success down to canny pricing (it's currently £0.99 on the Kindle) and clever marketing.

A self-published title from the AmazonEncore programme, Stephen Leather's thriller The Basement, comes in third, behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and just imagine seeing a self-published novel doing so well in the print charts: you wouldn't). In fact the chart is dominated by adventure/thriller novels, reports the Bookseller, with "30 such books in the digital top 50 compared with just 12 in the print equivalent". The highest-ranking non-fiction title is Michael cIntyre's Life and Laughing, at 16: a far cry from print charts,
where non-fiction (led this year by Jamie Oliver) tends to dominate.

These aren't charts from the UK's book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan, which has yet to provide an insight into ebook hits and misses (although apparently it's in the offing). But, compiled by The Bookseller "using a points-based system based on e-tailer chart positions and estimated e-tailer market shares", they're the best we have at the moment and
they make for interesting reading.

Continuing in charts mode, another title I was unaware of turns out to be the bestselling adult non-fiction (print) title of the year in North America (and this time these are official figures from Bookscan): Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo. It turns out that not many people in the UK have heard of it – it's currently languishing in 709th place in Amazon's UK charts – so here's a bit more information about the book: according to its publisher, it's "the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room". Crikey.

I am intrigued by how our reading habits differ from those of readers across the Atlantic. The North American fiction hit list is familiar enough – The Help is number one, a title which comes in third here, while Room by Emma Donoghue, George RR Martin's latest fantasy doorstopper, Grisham and Larsson also feature. Our fiction bestsellers of the year, according to BookScan, are: One Day, Dawn French's debut novel, The Help, Room, Larsson #1, Larsson #2, Grisham's The Confession, Larsson #3, the new Marian Keyes and Sarah Winman's debut, When God Was a Rabbit.

It's in non-fiction where the differences can be found. As well as Burpo's Astounding Story, Killing Lincoln – Bill O'Reilly's retelling of John Wilkes Booth's notorious murder of the American president – is in fourth place in the North American bestsellers of the year, but has yet to make a mark here. Laura Hillenbrand's story of survival on the sea in 1943, Unbroken, also charts, as does Tina Fey, the Steve Jobs biography, the story of the American embassy in Berlin as Hitler rose to power, In the Garden of Beasts, and Rebecca Skloot's medical history, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Looking at our non-fiction bestsellers of the year in the UK – in order: Jamie's 30-Minute Meals, Guinness, Jamie's Great Britain, Kate McCann, The Hare with the Amber Eyes, Bill Bryson's At Home, Lee Evans, The Dukan Diet, Home Cooking Made Easy and How to Bake The Perfect Victoria Sponge, BookScan tells me – what strikes me is how much more interesting, more intelligent, more diverse the North American popular reading choices are. History and biography are bestsellers over there: here instead we go for, largely, books to do with food. How bizarrely depressing. I'm going to do my small bit to remedy it: I'm off to buy a last-minute copy of the Hillenbrand as a present for my dad. And from a local bookshop, too. Take that, Victoria sponges and 30-minute meals.
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 68
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum