The top 50 e-book bestsellers of the year

My colleague Philip Stone has put together a top 50 e-book chart based on our weighted bestseller lists, which appear each week on the FutureBook email.

The number one title is Confessions of a GP, the Benjamin Daniels hit that has been in and around the the weekly chart for much of the year, thanks to some smart pricing decisions and marketing from publisher The Friday Project: in print the book has sold just 8,500 copies in UK, but has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Top 10

1 Confessions of a GP Benjamin Daniels The Friday Project
2 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson Quercus
3 The Basement Stephen Leather AmazonEncore
4 Hard Landing Stephen Leather Hodder
5 One Day David Nicholls Hodder
6 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest Stieg Larsson Quercus
7 The Girl Who Played with Fire Stieg Larsson Quercus
8 A Game of Thrones George R R Martin Harper Voyager
9 Room Emma Donoghue Picador
10 The Hanging Shed Gordon Ferris Corvus

Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo is in second place (and with the US film version of the book now out we can expect sales to once again begin climbing), ahead of two Stephen Leather titles, one self-published and now part of the AmazonEncore programme. David Nicholls One Day, a print and film success over the year, comes in at fifth, ahead of the next two Millennium titles, with A Game of Thrones, Room, and The Hanging Shed, making up the remainder of the top ten.

11 to 20

11 Sugar & Spice Saffina Desforges MWiDP
12 Truth Dare Kill Gordon Ferris Corvus
13 The Alchemist's Secret Scott Mariani Avon
14 Bloody Valentine James Patterson Cornerstone
15 Star Sullivan Maeve Binchy Orion
16 Life and Laughing Michael McIntyre Penguin
17 Sister Rosamund Lupton Hachette Digital
18 The Unremarkable Heart Karin Slaughter Cornerstone
19 A Clash of Kings George R R Martin Voyager
20 The Help Kathryn Stockett Penguin

Despite having no titles in the top ten, Transworld is actually the most successful publisher in the top 50 with five titles, though among the big groups the spoils are won by Hachette, which has 11 titles in the list compared with Random's nine. There are fewer self-published titles than one might have thought given all the noise they generate, but of course this is not just a Kindle chart, it includes chart positions from the likes of Waterstone's and W H Smith, where self-published titles gain little light. There are, of course, no self-published books in the equivalent print chart.

21 to 30

21 The Last 10 Seconds Simon Kernick Transworld
22 The Redbreast Jo Nesbø Vintage
23 A Tiny Bit Marvellous Dawn French Penguin
24 Limitless Alan Glynn Faber
25 Those in Peril Wilbur Smith Macmillan
26 Caught Harlan Coben Orion
27 The Case of the Missing Boyfriend Nick Alexander Corvus
28 Silver Steven Savile Bad Press
29 Unlikely Killer Ricki Thomas Wild Wolf
30 Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro Faber

The chart is dominated by fiction, and in particular adventure/thriller novels. There are 30 such books in the digital top 50 compared with just 12 in the print equivalent. In non-fiction the highest charting book is Life and Laughing by Michael McIntrye, which at 16 is 22 places ahead of the next contender, Madeleine by Kate McCann. The McInyre title was of course last Christmas' big Christmas hit—unlike in the print chart there are barely any Christmas biggies from 2011, in particular not a Jamie in sight. James Corden does, however, sneak in at 47—he has shifted 130,000 print copies too.

31 to 40

31 Second Son Lee Child Transworld
32 Locked in Kerry Wilkinson Self-published
33 Mr Right for the Night Marisa Mackle Self-published
34 The Affair Lee Child Transworld
35 Cold Kill Neil White Avon
36 Mile High Guy Marisa Mackle Dodder
37 The Family Martina Cole Headline
38 Madeleine Kate McCann Transworld
39 Into the Darkest Corner Elizabeth Haynes Myriad
40 The Crimson Petal and the White Michel Faber Canongate

The average selling price of the top 50 on Amazon was just £3.50, with 10 available for less than £1. In the printt char, the equivalent price was £6.60 with just one book (The Official Highway Code) retailing at under £4.

41 to 50

41 Afterwards Rosamund Lupton Hachette Digital
42 That Summer in Ischia Penny Feeny Tindal Street
43 Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson Hachette Digital
44 Suicide Run Michael Connelly Orion
45 Candles on the Sand Katie Stephens Self-published
46 Snuff Terry Pratchett Transworld
47 May I Have Your Attention Please? James Corden Cornerstone
48 Daddy's Home A K Alexander Self-published
49 Catch Your Death Voss/Edwards Harper
50 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John le Carré Sceptre

Ignoring the self-published titles, there are two e-book originals in the top 50 Lee Child's Second Son and Karin Slaughter's The Unremarkable Heart. Given the announcements coming out from publishers towards the end of this year, I think we'll see more originals and shorter works in next year's Top 50.



why are you moderating?

markwilliamsinternational's picture

If comments go live immediately why did my comment go to moderation and not appear?


Philip Jones's picture

Because we were getting a lot of spam for some reason. The ambition is to put comment live immediately.

Self-pubbed and indie titles

markwilliamsinternational's picture

Just to note the indie title Sugar & Spice (#11) was indeed in Waterstone's, where it held #2 spot in store (as it did on Kindle UK) for some while. The author brand Saffina Desforges was the most searched for name in Waterstone's echarts.

"There are fewer self-published titles than one might have thought given all the noise they generate."

An interesting observation. To get anywhere at all against million-sellers like Leather, Larsson, Nichols and Martin with the backing of their full-time professional teams, their backlist history and loyal following, and the huge obstacles to getting placement in most ebook stores is surely quite an achievement.

top 50 ebooks

Why “ignoring self-published”???

When only 2 originals, not self-published, appear?

What prejudiced rubbish

Calm down

Philip Jones's picture

I wasn't ignoring self-published (I refer to indie titles further up), I was just making a distinction between titles published in the traditional manner by publishers and those not. Increasingly it is those not, and those self-published, that are marking out the new territory in this digital frontier. So very much not ignoring self-publishing generally.

The shape of the curve

But what would be great to know would be how many sales numbers 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 achieved. 

I just tried to comment but

I just tried to comment but it disappeared...

Would be interested to know where the numbers come from.  Catch Your Death has sold 53,000 copies, all on Kindle, and I'd be amazed if we weren't higher than - for example - Daddy's Home and The Unremarkable Heart; the former was No.1 on Kindle for a few days and we were there for a month, and the latter was No, 2 or 3 for most of the time we were No.1 and slid down the chart and roughly the same pace.  Maybe it's because we were Amazon only and not on iBooks?

Er, not that I'm competitive, or anything! 

Where did the stats come

Where did the stats come from?  Catch Your Death has sold 53,000 copies this year so I'm surprised it's not higher than, for example, Daddy's Home and The Unremarkable Heart - as we were ahead of those in the chart for a long time.

Maybe it's because we were Amazon only...

Not that I'm competitive or anything!

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