To anyone who caught a train or a bus last year, it will come as no real surprise – David Nicholls' One Day has been officially confirmed as the biggest selling book of 2011.
The bright orange cover of Nicholls' book was as ubiquitous as it was eye-catching throughout the latter part of last year as everyone seemed to be devouring the 45-year-old’s tale of two university friends who fall in and out of love throughout their adult lives.
The novel sold 988,165 print copies, comfortably topping The Bookseller’s Official UK Top 50 for 2011. It bettered the second place book, Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, by more than 476,000 copies.
And in an interesting rebuke to cynics who would put One Day’s success entirely down to the August film adaptation that starred Anne Hathaway, The Bookseller report that the original paperback edition, with 637,969 copies sold, would have topped the chart on its own. The film tie-in edition would have come eighth.
"I'm obviously delighted, and a little amazed, and hugely grateful to all the readers who've bought the book and passed it on," Nicholls told Huffington Post UK Culture.
"And now I'm looking forward to getting back to my desk to try and write the next book."
So what made One Day the publishing phenenomen of 2011? The Telegraph put it down to the fact the romantic elements “appeal equally to men and women”, while the Guardian praised Nicholls' gift for comedy, adding that “One Day's characters are so luminously rendered that they quickly assume heart-thumping significance.”
Regardless of critical opinion, One Day was a book that united thousands of people in allowing them to reminisce about their university days. It’s simple premise – covering the same day in the lives of its two protagonists every year for twenty years – was also an ingenious way of developing its characters and spanning their history, from youthful naivety to parenthood, while still zipping the action along quickly.
Despite One Day’s remarkable success, 2011 saw a decline in print sales overall, largely because of the rise of eBooks and eReaders. Only One Day and 30-Minutes Meals sold more than 500,000 copies, a feat achieved by seven titles in 2010.
The Official 2011 Top Ten:
- One Day (David Nicholls), 988,165
- Jamie's 30-Minute Meals (Jamie Oliver), 504,557
- Guinness World Records 2012, 491,491
- A Tiny Bit Marvellous (Dawn French), 471,825
- The Help (Kathryn Stockett), 468,594
- Room (Emma Donoghue), 420,154
- Jamie’s Great Britain (Jamie Oliver), 401,950
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson) 396,583
- The Confession (John Grisham), 363,422
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Stieg Larsson) 337,930
What might top the best-seller chart in 2012? Here's our round up of the books we're most looking forward to...