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
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
newsThat most ancient of crimes is on the rise, threatening farmers' livelihoods, community trust – and human health
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber is NOT retiring from music
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
Call the Midwife Christmas special: Behind the scenes with Miranda Hart
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >