Happy Independent Bookshop Week 2024!

Happy Independent Bookshop Week! I always like to do a post for this every year because a) support bookshops! and b) the bestsellers versus the wider market are so interesting to compare. This time last year, only two books appeared in the top ten for both the total market and the general independent bookshop sector, covered in this post. That’s dropped to only one for 2024 so far (to 1 June), with Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow at the top of the indie chart and seventh for the overall TCM (excluding World Book Day £1 editions). The two charts both have two non-fiction books within their top tens but from opposite sides of the non-fiction sphere, with the overall market featuring a cookbook and a self-help book while the indie non-fiction chart is led by history books. Even if we look at the more specific categories featured, the indie bestsellers are different: the top cookbook through independent bookshops for the year so far is Easy Wins by Anna Jones, while the leading self-help related book in You Will Get through This Night by Daniel Howell.

Another difference within the two charts is a children’s book among the indie bestsellers, Jamie Smart’s latest Bunny vs Monkey title Bunny Bonanza! For the wider TCM, The Scarlet Shedder by Dav Pilkey sits just outside the top ten, at 12th so far, with both bestsellers pointing to the increased interest in children’s graphic novels. That inclusion of a children’s book means that the indie chart has seven adult fiction titles to the overall market’s eight, but the former does have one fiction hardback, thanks to You Are Here by David Nicholls. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is not only the only title to go across the two top tens but also the only category that overlaps: the indie fiction bestsellers all sit in General & Literary Fiction, while the overall market features one Historical & Mythological Fiction book, one Science Fiction & Fantasy and five Crime, Thriller & Adventure. While both are outside the top ten, the leading crime and historical books for the indie sector match the overall market, The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman and Homecoming by Kate Morton, while the top SFF book through independents is Babel by R.F. Kuang.

Extending further, only 12 ISBNs make the top 50 for both the total market and the indie sector, plus one more book across two editions: the tie-in version of One Day by David Nicholls ranks 24th in the overall TCM chart, while the original cover ranks 33rd through indies. The biggest difference in position for those books in both top 50s can be seen for You Are Here, separated by 41 spots, while two books are tied for the smallest gap: Food for Life by Tim Spector, which ranks five spots higher in the indies chart, and The Scarlet Shedder, which is five spots higher for the total market. The final title that appears in both top 50s but higher in the indie chart is Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang, although the gap is relatively smaller, pointing to likely success across multiple channels.

The variety in titles featured even just at the top of the indie chart, and the differences to the overall market, highlight how important bookshops are in championing books beyond the overall bestsellers. And what better time than Independent Bookshop Week to go discover your next favourite read or hidden gem!

Data extracted from the BookScan UK Total Consumer Market (TCM) to 1 June 2024.