08.09.09 Philip Stone - The Bookseller
Since Nielsen BookScan records began in 1998, more than 22.5 million copies of Man Booker books (including those longlisted, shortlisted and winning) have been snapped up by eager fans, but sitting atop the list is a book that didn’t even make it to the shortlist stage—Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Vintage). Across its numerous editions, the humorous teen-detective mystery has sold more than 2 million copies since publication.
Ian McEwan takes an impressive three positions on the list. In fact, since 1990, just one of McEwan’s novels hasn’t made it onto a Man Booker longlist (Enduring Love). Amsterdam (Cape/Vintage), his 1998 winner of the Man Booker prize, narrowly fails to chart having clocked up sales of 286,000 copies to date.
Sales of Atonement were boosted by its successful film adaptation while sales of Cape/Vintage’s other book in the Top 20, Julian Barnes’ Arthur and George, were boosted by its inclusion in the 2006 “Richard & Judy” Book Club.
Yann Martel’s Life of Pi was recently re-released—for an eighth time by Canongate, according to Nielsen BookData, while Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger (Atlantic) charts comfortably despite it being published little over a year ago.
Adiga’s Man Booker winner of 2008 has proved one of the most popular since records began. It sold just shy of 375,000 copies in the year following its win—a feat beaten only by Life of Pi since 1998.
Faber enjoys four titles in the Top 20, two coming from its one-time winner, three-time loser Kazuo Ishiguro. Like Ishiguro’s 1989 winner The Remains of the Day, the 1997 winner, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (Flamingo) continues to enjoy popularity, and was one of the top 500 bestselling paperback fiction books in August.
The Top 20 Man Booker Bestsellers (1998 to date)
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon (Cape/Vintage)
2. Atonement Ian McEwan (Cape/Vintage)
3. Life of Pi Yann Martel (Canongate)
4. The Amber Spyglass Philip Pullman (Scholastic)
5. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Marina Lewycka (Viking/Penguin)
6. Brick Lane Monica Ali (Doubleday/Black Swan)
7. How to be Good Nick Hornby (Viking/Penguin)
8. On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan (Cape/Vintage)
9. Saturday Ian McEwan (Cape/Vintage)
10. The Blind Assassin Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury)
11. On Beauty Zadie Smith (HamHam/Penguin)
12. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell (Sceptre)
13. The White Tiger Aravind Adiga (Atlantic)
14. Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
15. Notes on a Scandal Zoe Heller (Viking/Penguin)
16. Vernon God Little D B C Pierre (Faber)
17. When We Were Orphans Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
18. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
19. Arthur and George Julian Barnes (Cape/Vintage)
20. Spies Michael Frayn (Faber)