Blue about bestselling books

The list of bestselling books up for the vote on Blue Peter has left me feeling anxious. I don’t know why. I trust Blue Peter. Well, reasonably anyway. And Booktrust is a good organisation, working on worthy awards and various reading schemes.

Below is the list of the – apparently – bestselling books of the last decade. That’s 2002 to 2011, and it’s number of books sold, rather than in monetary terms. And an author can only appear once. Under 16s can vote for their favourite, so at some point we’ll have the overall winner.

Alex Rider Mission 3: Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz, Candyfloss by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling, Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross, Mr Stink by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, The Series of Unfortunate Events: Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket, Theodore Boone by John Grisham, and Young Bond: SilverFin ─ A James Bond Adventure by Charlie Higson.

Most of these books are really good. The question is if they are the best, and the question is whether it makes sense to have a list based on sales, which is then voted on. If we go for sales, there must be an overall winner already. Why not just announce who that is? (I can guess. So I can also guess why there needs to be a debate in the form of a vote.)

Many of these titles are obvious for anyone with any understanding of book sales versus other ways of measuring worth and popularity. The one that I am still surprised and vaguely pleased to find on here is the John Grisham. I’m glad that a book the reviewers didn’t seem to go for has sold. Unless it’s the Terry Pratchett phenomenon. Do Grisham fans buy everything – even children’s books – when it’s by their favourite author? Perhaps the sales weren’t caused by child buyers, or buyers for children?

Anyway, Theodore Boone is up against many solid favourites, so will most likely not win. I wouldn’t like to bet on who will, though.

Blue Peter

Along with the competition for book of the decade, Blue Peter announced the shortlist for The Blue Peter Book of the Year 2012:

Discover the Extreme World by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele

The Official Countdown to the London 2012 Games by Simon Hart

The Considine Curse by Gareth P. Jones

A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler

Only two of those are fiction, and I suppose it fits the Blue Peter image to include non-fiction books. I just don’t feel they are competing on a level playing field, somehow.

But don’t mind me. It was probably something I ate.

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7 responses to “Blue about bestselling books

  1. I am not entirely convinced that any award competition is played on a level playing field, but it is a boost for the ones who win.

  2. I think it is fair. I remember from my running a school library days that non fiction was all that a lot of children, mostly boys, would read. And their choices should be equally relevant. Really, “Where’s Wally?” and “The Guinness Book of Records” should be acknowledged somewhere. They always seemed to be the default setting for bored little boys.

  3. Not to mention all those Fairy Books! Where are they?
    I think there is probably a huge gap between what children actually read cf. what adults think they should read.

  4. Hilary, you are right as usual. I don’t know why I don’t run my stupid posts past you first.
    As a school library helper I was surprised to find that in the annual vote for favourite book, we usually found The Guinness Book of Records in first or second place. And Son actually perused his copy quite a lot.
    I shall now review my pile of Olympics books with renewed sense and understanding. (Although I had actually saved them because I felt that a year in advance was very advanced.)

  5. I’m never convinced by anything involving votes though, thinking about it, I’m not to happy at the thought of a panel of official ‘Taste Arbiters’ either.

    Either way, the Morpurgo book made me cry – glad to see it up there. I wonder if they’d run in six months whether it would have been ousted by War Horse?

  6. Private Peaceful is the one Morpurgo book I find hard to deal with. Too much Cider With Rosie, and with not enough hope at the end.
    War Horse made me cry, but in the right sort of way.

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