This is, I suppose, another end of year round-up post – but one about bookselling in Australia, which is something I don’t usually write much about. However, since many of us love lists, I thought I’d share with you Australia’s top selling books for 2103:
- Jeff Kinney: Hard luck: Diary of a wimpy kid (UK, children’s)
- Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s 15 minute meals (UK, cookbook)
- Dan Brown: Inferno (US, fiction)
- Jamie Oliver: Save with Jamie (UK, cookbook)
- Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton: The 39-storey treehouse (Aus, children’s)
- Matthew Reilly: The tournament (Aus, fiction)
- Guinness world records 2014 (UK, reference)
- Sarah Wilson: I quit sugar (Aus, nonfiction)
- Ricky Ponting: Ponting at close of play (Aus, memoir)
- Jodi Picoult: The storyteller (USA, fiction)
It’s good to see some Aussies there, including popular children’s author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton. I haven’t read Matthew Reilly but he has a reputation as a good story-teller in, mostly, the action and thriller genres.
Jason Steger, the Literary Editor of The Age and a regular panelist on the First Tuesday Bookclub, says of this year’s top ten:
The pulse rates of Australian readers were probably a bit slower last year, as the boom in erotic and dystopic fiction vanished, and old favourites such as Jamie Oliver, Jeff Kinney, Dan Brown and Matthew Reilly returned to dominate the national bestseller lists.
He is of course referring to the 2012 phenomena of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. Apparently, without these juggernauts, overall sales were down in 2013 over 2012. According to Steger, the overall number of books sold dropped from 56.6 million to 54.1 million, resulting in a drop in value from $978 million to $917 million. Interesting isn’t it? What does this say about reading behaviour? That some people only read when a “huge” book appears on the scene. If everyone’s reading it, they will too, but otherwise reading is not for them? Is that the conclusion to draw from those figures, or am I missing something?
I can’t seem to find the fiction top ten for the year. I’m assuming that you have to pay Nielsen to get this information, but it seems telling that, while newspapers have reported (via journalists Blanche Clark and Jason Steger) on the overall top 10, no-one has listed, at least as far as I can find via Google, the fiction-specific list. The best that I could find was Steger, again, who reported that Tim Winton’s Eyrie (which I’ll be reading this year) was the best-performing literary novel. That says something about the Winton’s pull, as Eyrie wasn’t published until mid-October. Steger also reports that the Australian debut novels, Hannah Kent’s Burial rites (which I’ll also be reading this year) and Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie project (my review), both made the fiction top ten. This is not surprising as they were probably the two biggest buzz books in the Australian literary firmament this year. However, I’m assuming that Steger’s singling out of these three books means that they are the only Aussies in the top to fiction list – and this means that the Miles Franklin award winning Questions of travel is not there.
None of this is earth shattering. We literary fiction readers know that the books we read rarely make general top 10s. It’s always interesting, however, to see what does. Were there any top 10 surprises in your neck of the woods?