How a man with a stethoscope beat the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Confessions of a GP surprisingly beats crime thriller as biggest selling digital book of the year
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Saturday 24 December 2011
An anonymous doctor writing under a pseudonym has beaten blockbuster authors including Stieg Larsson and David Nicholls to the top of the 2011 chart for ebooks with a debut work that has relied almost solely on word-of-mouth publicity.
Confessions of a GP, by Dr Benjamin Daniels, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times this year, and topped the digital best-sellers chart compiled by FutureBook.
The book, which was first published in August last year, has sold just 8,500 copies of its print edition. Yet the digital version, which can now be bought for as little as a pound, has been a runaway success.
Scott Pack of The Friday Project, the book's publisher and an arm of HarperCollins, said he was "over the moon" about the book's success. He conceded much of the book's success could be explained by aggressive pricing: "We don't have any superstar authors so we deliberately price our ebooks lower than those like the Stieg Larsson books."
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson was the second-most downloaded book of the year. Its publisher, Quercus, expects a bump after the Boxing Day release of the Hollywood adaptation starring Daniel Craig.
The third-most popular ebook of the year was The Basement by Stephen Leather and published by the author. Mr Leather's Hard Landing, which is published by Hodder & Stoughton, was the next most popular book of the year. Mr Pack said there had been a "gold rush" last Christmas as people filled up their new Kindles with cheap books. Most of the titles in the top 50, he pointed out, were thrillers. The list was still dominated by traditional publishing houses.
One which has succeeded as an independent is Mark Edwards, who wrote the 49th-highest seller this year with Catch Your Death, with Louise Voss. He said: "We didn't get anywhere for years but the Kindle gave us a new lease of life." They subsequently landed a publishing deal with HarperCollins.
As for the so-called Dr Daniels, "we are keen for him to do a second volume," Mr Pack said. "But he is pretty busy with his day job."
Digital hits: The ebook top ten
1. Confessions of a GP
A humorous take on life as a family GP written by a real doctor using the pseudonym Benjamin Daniels.
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
First in Stieg Larsson's trilogy; a journalist teams up with a hacker to solve a murder.
3. The Basement
Stephen Leather's self-published thriller puts two detectives on the track of a serial killer.
4. Hard Landing
Detective Dan Shepherd faces his toughest job as a drug baron kills off witnesses in another by Leather.
5. One Day
Popular tale by David Nicholls of the lives of Dex and Emma each St Swithin's day.
6. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The conclusion to Larsson's series finds Lisbeth Salander fighting for her life.
7. The Girl who Played with Fire
The second in the Larsson trilogy finds the lead fighting to clear her name of double murder.
8. A Game of Thrones
The first in a series of fantasy novels by George R R Martin and adapted into a recent TV series.
The novel by Emma Donoghue was inspired by the Fritzl case as a young woman is abused in a room for seven years
10. The Hanging Shed
An ex-policeman returns home to Glasgow to help clear the name of a friend accused of murder
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Scottish independence referendum: Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and Frightened Rabbit to play in support of Yes campaign
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Olivia Colman and Mary Berry top Radio Times' female power list
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain