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'Carte Blanche' misses out on top spot in the book charts

01-Jun-2011 • Literary

James Bond has failed in his latest mission: to top the bestseller charts. Despite a bargain £5 deal at Tesco (75% off the £19.99 r.r.p.), sales of Jeffery Deaver's 007 novel, Carte Blanche (Hodder & Stoughton), were insufficient to score it a number one -- reports The Bookseller

The thriller, which sees MI6's finest given carte blanche to prevent a terrorist atrocity, sold a solid 16,158 copies in its first three days on sale. It is strong enough for eighth position in the Official UK Top 50, but it falls some 797 copies short of the bestselling hardback fiction book of the week, Peter James' Dead Man's Grip (Macmillan), which also benefited from a £5 deal at Tesco.

Carte Blanche's sales figure is around a third of the 44,093 sales Bond's previous outing, in Sebastian Faulks' Devil May Care (Penguin 007), racked up in its first four days of sales in May 2008.

For the third consecutive week, Kate McCann's Madeleine (Bantam Press) was the bestselling book in the UK, with Martina Cole's The Family (Headline) once again the second most popular purchase. The books sold 30,895 and 30,156 copies respectively at UK booksellers.

The mass-market edition of John Grisham's The Confession (Arrow), which sold 115,000 copies in hardback in the run-up to Christmas last year, débuts in third place in the Official UK Top 50, and was one of numerous new titles released by publishers last week with Father's Day on 19th June in mind.

Other books that début in the Official UK Top 50 and should sell well in the run-up to Father's Day include the mass-market editions of Bill Bryson's At Home (Black Swan), John le Carré's Our Kind of Traitor (Penguin), Bernard Cornwell's The Fort (Harper), Ken Follett's Fall of Giants (Pan), Keith Richards' Life (Phoenix), Jeremy Clarkson's How Hard Can it Be? (Penguin) and last week's "£2.99 if you buy the Times" link-save deal at W H Smith, Gerald Seymour's The Dealer and the Dead (Hodder). All scored sales of more than 5,900 last week.

In 2007, Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (Black Swan) sold a tremendous 66,100 copies in the seven days leading up to Father's Day—a week when sales surged 14.6% week-on-week, to £30.9m.

Thanks to a plethora of enticing new releases hitting bookshop shelves, spending at UK book retail outlets rose 4.4% (£1.1m) week-on-week, to £25.7m — a six-week high. However, sales were down 1.6% (£0.4m) on the same week last year, when books by Stieg Larsson, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Kathryn Stockett bothered the charts with 20,000-plus sales.

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