Stieg Larrson rules Australian book sales in 2010

January 11, 2011 in Blogging, Book Reviews, Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller

Stieg Larsson

No real surprises as the 2010 Australian book sale figures (via Nielson Bookscan) were released today.

Stieg Larsson’s Swedish-translated bestseller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (my review of the book here), topped the charts with around 400,000 copies sold in 2010, and the other two books in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest pushed total sales of the Millennium Trilogy to over 1 million.

I personally thought the book was pretty good, but as I said it the review, not entirely worthy of the insane hype.  I’ve got the next two books of the trilogy lined up, I just need to get around to reading them!

Anyway, no doubt the Swedish versions of the first two films have attributed to the strong sales of the books, and with the Hollywood version of the first film due to hit cinemas December 2011, expect the books to continue selling.

Nevertheless, it was good to see the 2009 chart topper, Twilight, slow down a little despite what feels like its ten millionth reprint in yet another different coloured version.

Another strong seller was Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love (250,000 copies), probably also helped by the Julia Roberts’ film based on the book (which I am yet to see but heard was complete trash).

A bunch of cook books also did well, thanks to the TV juggernaught Masterchef.

The top selling Australian author was Bryce Courtenay, whose book Fortune Cookie sold 104,000 copies.  Di Morrisey’s The Plantation was not too far behind with 101,000, and various biographies (Ben Cousins, John Howard, Anh Do) sold around 70,000.

For the year, the Australian book industry sold 66.2 million books (not too bad for a country of under 22 million), which was up 0.4% in volume but a drop of 4.2% in value because of lower book prices.  With the iPad, Kindle and other e-readers starting to penetrate the market, I wonder which direction sales will go in the coming decade?

In any case, these figures show just how hard it is to make a living as an author in Australia.  Unless you can break into the international market, it’s almost impossible to not require a day job.  Discouraging, no doubt, but an aspiring writer can still dream, right?