Between the covers: What's really going on in the world of books


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The Independent Culture

It’s bad news for David Cameron from the book-buying voters of Great Britain, who, according to the latest bestseller charts from Waterstones, elected to buy more copies of Owen Jones’s The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It than any other paperback non-fiction title last week, followed by The Pointless Book 2 by Alfie Deyes, H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, and The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels.

Over in the hardback bestsellers list (for hardworking book buyers with a bit more money in their pockets), there is only one political title among the top 10 non-fiction, and that’s The Dream Shall Never Die: 100 Days that Changed Scotland Forever, by Alex Salmond, at number two. Even Boris Johnson’s book about why he is essentially the new Winston Churchill is trailing far behind. Art therapy and colouring books for grownups have also been popular in Waterstones.

The Communist Manifesto is one of 80 Little Black Classics, costing 80p each, which were published for Penguin’s 80th anniversary on 26 February, and which are now distributed throughout the bestseller lists. Penguin had already sold 10,126 copies of The Communist Manifesto alone by the end of March. The second bestselling book in the collection is Aphorisms on Love and Hate by Friedrich Nietzsche (8,268 copies).

Meanwhile, the results of more than 230,000 surveys taken by politically-engaged voters on website show its users to be much more left-wing than the population in general. When shown policy statements blind (without mention of which party they belong to), 27.7 per cent of its users preferred Labour policies, 20.8 per cent Green, and 20.6 per cent Liberal Democrat (with only 13.4 per cent turning out to have Conservative-leaning views). Interestingly, those policies include “cutting down on tax avoidance” by big companies.

A lesson to politicians from the country’s book buyers and policy investigators, then: make Amazon pay more corporate tax; swing wildly to the left; and provide free colouring-in on the NHS. Sorted.