Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You tops UK book charts

In its first week on sale, Rooney’s new novel has outsold Jamie Oliver and beaten day-one sales of her previous book Normal People by 1,200% at Waterstones

Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You has shot to the top of the UK’s book charts, selling more than 40,000 copies in just five days.

The novel had been highly anticipated, with 50 shops around the UK opening early on 7 September in order to sell it to fans. Strong sales in the week to 11 September, coupled with pre-orders, have now sent it soaring: in total, Beautiful World, Where Are You sold 46,065 copies last week to become the UK’s bestselling book, according to sales monitor Nielsen BookScan.

Rooney’s sales are three times more than the second-placed title, Jay Kristoff’s Empire of the Vampire, which sold 15,209 copies. They also put her ahead of titles including Susanna Clarke’s Women’s prize-winning Piranesi, and Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook Together: Memorable Meals Made Easy.

Nielsen said that the last hardback novel to sell more than 46,000 copies in a single week was Richard Osman’s crime debut The Thursday Murder Club, which sold 72,913 copies in the week ending 26 December 2020. Osman’s follow-up, The Man Who Died Twice, is out on Thursday.

Waterstones said Beautiful World, Where Are You, which is Rooney’s third novel after Conversations With Friends and Normal People, was its bestselling fiction hardback of the year to date after only one week on sale. “Day one sales were up on Normal People’s first day by more than 1,200%, and it is sure to remain a bestseller throughout the autumn and beyond,” said fiction buyer Bea Carvalho. “This third novel will boost Rooney’s reputation as the voice of a generation and one of the most exciting writers at work today: it is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fiction.”

Telling of the successful young writer Alice and her best friend Eileen, Beautiful World, Where Are You has had a mostly positive reception from critics. Anne Enright in the Guardian praised “the ache and uncertainty of her characters’ coming of age, her way with emotional difficulty and her brilliance in showing the barriers we put between ourselves and the love of others”, but the Times called the novel “a little uncanny and a little mechanical, lacking the breath of human inspiration”.

Rooney’s publisher at Faber & Faber, Alex Bowler, commented on the sales figures: “It’s beautiful and it’s jaw-dropping - a testament to the deep and electric connection so many readers find in Sally’s work, and to the dedication, support and utterly awe-inspiring efforts of booksellers all over Ireland, the UK and overseas. We are so lucky to work with friends like these.”


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Sally Rooney's Normal People tops UK book charts as readers fall for TV version
Costa award-winning love story of Connell and Marianne takes top slot from David Walliams’ bestselling children’s book Slime

Alison Flood

13, May, 2020 @3:44 PM

Article image
Advance copies of Sally Rooney’s unpublished book sold for hundreds of dollars
Uncorrected proofs of upcoming novels have been selling for large sums on eBay and Depop – despite the practice being banned by publishers

Weronika Strzyżyńska

20, Aug, 2021 @12:47 PM

Article image
Authors back Sally Rooney’s boycott of an Israeli publisher
Kamila Shamsie, Monica Ali and China Miéville are among those who have signed a letter organised by Artists for Palestine

Alison Flood

22, Nov, 2021 @2:27 PM

Article image
John le Carré, Daisy May Cooper and Paul McCartney expected to boost book sales at Christmas
The annual event known as ‘Super Thursday’, when most of the hardbacks aimed at the Christmas market are published, promises big names and a boon for the industry

Alison Flood

08, Oct, 2021 @12:00 PM

Article image
Sally Rooney trumps Michelle Obama to book of the year title
Despite the former first lady’s memoir Becoming rapidly outselling Rooney’s Normal People, British book award judges give top prize to Irish writer

Matthew Wilson

13, May, 2019 @7:30 PM

Article image
Waterstones says it can't pay living wage, as 1,300 authors support staff appeal
Managing director says book chain ‘simply not profitable enough’, as Sally Rooney, Val McDermid and other authors write to protest

Alison Flood

26, Mar, 2019 @12:28 PM

Article image
Sally Rooney's Normal People named Waterstones book of the year
Bookseller praises word-of-mouth hit as ‘cementing her reputation as the voice of her generation’

Sian Cain

29, Nov, 2018 @12:01 AM

Article image
British Book awards balance art and selling power to decide best writer in 30 years
Novelists rub shoulders with presidents, chefs, comedians and thriller megastars on longlist to define the title with the biggest impact on the book world

Alison Flood

14, Feb, 2020 @6:01 AM

Article image
'It's a mega year!': book trade braces for autumn onslaught of major new titles
After the lockdown, hundreds of delayed titles are expected this autumn including many household names vying for Christmas success

Alison Flood

13, Aug, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
Fire and Fury pipped to No 1 in UK book charts by Lose Weight for Good
Booksellers hail strong sales for Donald Trump exposé, but Tom Kerridge’s diet book sets the most British tills ringing

Alison Flood

16, Jan, 2018 @4:34 PM