Ireland’s bestselling books of 2018 revealed
Aisling novels by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are biggest Irish success story
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Importance of Being Aisling, three of the bestselling books of the year in Ireland
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, a Holocaust love story based on a true story, was the bestselling book in Ireland in 2018, selling 61,391 copies, just pipping Costa First Novel Book Award winner Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, which sold 58,975 up to last Saturday, according to Nielsen BookScan.
In a smiliar uplit vein, the Aisling novels by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen were the biggest Irish success story. Oh My God What a Complete Aisling and The Importance of Being Aisling took third and fourth place, selling more than 80,000 copies in total.
The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn was Ireland’s most popular thriller, while Skin Deep by Liz Nugent was the most successful homegrown title.
Letters to My Daughters by Emma Hannigan, published just before the popular author’s death from cancer in March, was also a huge hit.
David Walliams was the most popular’s children’s author, with The Ice Monster in first place and The World’s Worst Children 3 sandwiching Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown.
Graham Norton followed up the success of his debut, Holding, with another bestseller in A Keeper, although strikingly he sold more titles in Ireland than in the much larger British market. By contrast, Man Booker Prize winner Anna Burns sold over 25,000 copies of Milkman in Ireland and over 100,000 copies in Britain.
It was a good year too for Sally Rooney, whose Man Booker longlisted and Costa Novel shortlisted Normal People sold 20,175 copies at home and 77,000 copies in Britain. Her debut, Conversations with Friends, sold 90,000 copies there and almost 9.000 in Ireland. Ireland’s other Man Booker longlisted title, From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan, sold 10,535 copies.
It was a mixed year for past and present occupants of the White House. The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Paterson sold over 24,000 copies while Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming sold over 20,000. Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s exposé of Donald Trump’s regime, sold 18,000 copies.
The Happy Pear: Recipes for Happiness by Stephen and David Flynn was Ireland’s bestselling cookbook and it sold a similar number in Britain. At All Costs by Davy Fitzgerald and Vincent Hogan was the most po;pular sports book.
Seamus Heaney’s 100 Poems sold a remarkable 17,000 copies, while John Connell’s memoir The Cow Book (12,329), Emilie Pine’s essays Notes to Self (8,679) and The Gospel According to Blindboy (10,568) broke new ground.
Marian Keyes was the most sucessful Irish author in Britain. The Break sold just under 250,000 copies, while it also sold almoast 25,000 copies at home. Listening to the Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick sold almost 143,000 copies. Belfast-based thriller writer Steve Cavanagh, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award, sold 93,000 copies of Thirteen, while another Northern writer, Sam McBratney, shifted another 77,000 copies of his classic, Guess How Much I Love You. YA author Catherine Doyle had a big hit with The Stormkeeper’s Island, selling 27,000 copies, just ahead of Tin by Padraig Kenny. A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly sold 31,000 copies while another title, The Woman in the Woods, sold 18,000.
Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan and John Boyne stood out as authors who achieved major success at home and in Britain. What Happened That Night by O’Flanagan sold 44,000 in Britain and almost 9,000 here. Kelly’s The Year That Changed Everything Cathy Kelly sold over 24,000 here and 36,000 in Britain. Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies John Boyne sold 39,000 in Britain and over 11,314 here, while A Ladder to the Sky also sold 6,497 here.
Eleanor Oliphant topped the British bestsellers of 2018, with 825,000 sales, well ahead of David Walliams’ The Ice Monster with 520,000 copies sold, and This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay (493,000).
Maria Dickenson, managing director of Dubray Books, said: “2018 has been a positive year for the trade, with sales up in Ireland by 7 per cent year on year. At Dubray sales have been driven by strong Irish titles (including Normal People and Notes to Self) and growth in current affairs (Fear; Fire and Fury) and of course by the huge sales of Michelle Obama’s Becoming. E-books sales have started to decline, and customers seem to be appreciating the experience of shopping in a physical bookshop and getting advice from booksellers who can help them find something to suit their tastes.”
An Eason spokesman said: “2018 so far has been another positive year for book sales in Ireland and Eason has performed in line with the market where growth has been driven by the strength of Irish published titles and the number of international best-sellers. This growth has primarily been reflected in our on-line performance which is up over 20 per cent on last year with the recent Black Friday period seeing growth of 40 per cent. This month we continue to see strong sales, with children’s books and Irish fiction performing particularly well.”
Nielsen’s figures capture 60 per cent of the books sold in the State, including online retailers such as Amazon, as well as Eason, Dubray, Tesco etc. Sales north of the Border are included in the UK figures.
IRELAND'S BESTSELLERS 2018
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 58,975
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 61,391
- Oh My God What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen 46,485
- The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen 36,968
- The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn 36404
- Letters to My Daughters by Emma Hannigan 35,895
- The Ice Monster by David Walliams 31103
- A Keeper by Graham Norton 28866
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney 28037
- Milkman by Anna Burns 25472
- The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly 24060
- The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Paterson 24049
- The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams 21201
- Becoming by Michelle Obama 20718
- The Break by Marian Keyes 24573
- Skin Deep by Liz Nugent 23464
- Guinness World Records 2019 19039
- Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff 18307
- 100 Poems by Seamus Heaney 17005
- The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 16650
- Normal People by Sally Rooney 20175
- Dancing with the Tsars by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly 15,032
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson 14,408
- Still Me by Jojo Moyes 14,324
- This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay 13,852
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 13,825
BESTSELLING IRISH AUTHORS IN BRITAIN
- The Break by Marian Keyes 250,000
- Listening to the Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick 143,000
- Milkman by Anna Burns 104,000
- Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh 93,000
- Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney 90,000
- Normal People by Sally Rooney 77,000
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney 77,000
- What Happened That Night by Sheila O’Flanagan 44,000
- I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell 43,000
- The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne 39,000
- Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty 36,000
- The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly 36,000
- A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly 31,000
- The Stormkeeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle 27,000
- Tin by Padraig Kenny 27,000
- Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan 23,000
- Perfect by Cecelia Ahern 22,000
- A Keeper by Graham Norton 22,000
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis 19,000
- The House of Names by Colm Tóibín 18,000