Sales leapt to £11.5 million last year
Jamie Oliver has become Britain’s biggest selling author with sales of his cookbooks leaping by more than 20% last year.
His latest cookery book, Jamie’s Ministry of Food, helped boost sales of his books to £11.5 million in 2008. Its success helped raise him above such literary powerhouses as Khaled Hosseini (£10.7 million), James Patterson (£9.8 million) and JK Rowling (£8.1 million).
Jamie’s Ministry of Food accompanied the Channel 4 television series of the same name, which documented his attempt to teach the Yorkshire town of Rotherham to cook.
Meanwhile self-styled ‘domestic goddess’ Nigella Lawson saw revenue from her books drop by 35% last year. Philip Stone from The Bookseller magazine, who compiled the figures from market research company Neilsen Bookscan, said: ‘Nigella Lawson’s seasonal title Nigella’s Christmas was never going to match the huge 2007 hit Nigella Express and her sales slumped accordingly.’
Delia Smith’s How to Cheat at Cooking was another success of 2008, helping her sales reach £7.6 million and putting her at number five in the top sellers’ list.
The success of Delia’s and Jamie’s titles – which concentrate on easy-to-make recipes – could mark a move away from cookbooks that offer elaborate but time-consuming food. Cooks accounted for three of the top 10 authors of 2008, underlining their importance to publishing houses.
By contrast, the best selling author of serious literary fiction, Aravind Adiga, who won the MAN Booker Prize for The White Tiger, only managed to reach 150th place. His debut novel achieved sales of a comparatively meagre £1.2 million.