13th December, 2019
3 min read
The Decade in Publishing
The Bookseller Magazine, the magazine of the book industry, recently revealed the top 50 bestsellers of the decade (2010-2019) according to Nielsen Book Scan which represents sales through the tills of over 6500 retailers. The top five was dominated by the E.L. James’s blockbusting Fifty Shades series, that brought erotica firmly to the mainstream; we all got fit to Joe Wick’s Lean in 15, and David Walliams stormed the children’s book market – becoming the fastest growing children’s author for sales in this period. Other big hitters included the final book in the Stig Larsson trilogy, Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks and J.K. Rowling creeping in at number 5 with The Cursed Child play script.
Interestingly, out of the 50 listed bestsellers of the decade, around 70% were fiction / YA fiction titles, with most of the non-fiction being made up of celebrity cookbooks (Jamie Oliver, Hairy Dieters) and a smattering of populist science titles such as Sapiens. The rise of the ebook slowed, as print sales took the lead again, with the latter half of the decade seeing audio becoming king, with audiobook sales seeing huge growth. And while all of this proves that the public still has a big appetite for books and reading, the biggest selling books of the decade look different when viewed through the indie publishing lens, where ebooks are largely felt to have dominated against print sales during the same period and audio has had slower uptake than in trad. publishing due to the costs of entry for indie authors.
For us here at Troubador, the decade saw us help over 5000 authors publish, market and sell their books. We’ve had award winners (eg. City Centre won Rugby Book of the Year at The British Sports Book Awards in 2014, The Story of My Life won the Telegraph Sports Book Awards best horse racing title in 2011, Coffee and Wine won the 2019 Gourmand International Book Award). We’ve had many award nominees too, most recently RGS Atalantas highlighted at the RAC Motoring Book of the year 2019.
Throughout the decade we’ve designed some beautiful covers, helped publish some amazing stories and worked with fabulous authors on a huge range of books across a wide range of genres. It was the decade in which we celebrated our 20th birthday (back in 2016), purchased another publishing company (The Book Guild Ltd, in 2015) and launched additional author services such as Indie-Go (2017) and the Festival Bookshop (2018).
And the Troubador bestselling book of the decade? That is Will it Make the Boat Go Faster – a leadership and coaching book that has remained on our bestseller list since it was first published in 2010. And in a nice arc, 2020 will see the updated and revised second edition published with us across all formats – including audio. So whether mainstream or Indie, as the decade unfurled, print books fought back against ebooks and audiobooks became the growth area in publishing – but readers proved they were still in love with books across all formats (as are we!).
Let’s see what the next decade brings!