Nielsen Book Announces Barack Obama’s A Promised Land as the Official Australian #1 Christmas Bestseller

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 17 December 2020 – Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, the first volume of the former US president’s memoirs of his time in office, is Australia’s official Christmas Number One bestseller.

A Promised Land tops Nielsen’s 2020 Australian Christmas bestsellers list having sold 17,190 copies in Australia last week, according to data from Nielsen BookScan’s Australian Book Market panel of more than 1,600 book retail outlets. It debuted on BookScan’s Australian bestseller charts at number one in the week ending 21 November 2019 with 18,300 copies sold, with Australians having now bought over 71,000 copies. Barack’s wife, Michelle, recorded similar success with her autobiography Becoming selling over 209,000 copies to date.

Obama has had past success in Australia with his previous memoirs Dreams From My Father (Text Publishing) and The Audacity Of Hope (Text Publishing) in 2008.

Nielsen Book, the leading provider of search, commerce, consumer research and retail sales analysis services for the book industry, reports that trade non-fiction titles have taken out the Christmas number one four times in the last 10 years, with this sector recording a +7% uplift this year. Children’s titles more commonly take the top spot, with four such titles on Obama’s heels this year. Two titles from The ABC’s Bluey franchise – Bluey: Verandah Santa and Bluey: Hooray, It’s Christmas! – came in second and third places, followed by The Traitor (book four of Anh Do’s Wolf Girl series) in fourth and rounded out by The 130-Storey Treehouse, the latest entry in Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton’s long running series.

Australian shoppers continue to support home-grown authors, with half of the content in the Top 10 created locally. This holds true beyond the Top 10, with 10 out of the Top 20 titles being written by Australians, including titles from Cameron Smith & Andrew Webster, Trent Dalton, Peter FitzSimons, Eddie Jaku, and Di Morrissey across a range of categories.

The Christmas period is good news for authors, publishers and retailers of all sizes. This Christmas sales week, Australian book buyers purchased close to 158,000 different book titles. That is over 30,600 more than an average week in 2020, illustrating the sheer breadth of titles purchased by Australian shoppers during the Christmas period.

Bianca Whiteley, Territory Manager of Nielsen Book Australia, said “Australians have spent over $1 billion on physical books so far in 2020, with Nielsen BookScan’s measurement of the Australian Book Market up +7.5% on the same period in 2019. During the initial March lockdown Adult Fiction and Children’s books performed particularly strongly, and we saw continued momentum within these sectors and across the market into the key December trading period. Whilst we recorded an initial decline at the start of 2020, this was offset by a strong Quarter 2 and even stronger Quarter 3 sales, with Australians book buyers purchasing an additional $12 million per month on books on average from June onwards.”

In New Zealand, David Walliams’ Code Name Bananas topped the charts having sold just under 2800 in the same week 6 to 12 December. It is the third time Walliams has topped the official NZ Christmas top 10.

Australia’s Official Nielsen BookScan Top 10 Christmas Bestsellers List (ranked by copies sold in the week 6-12th December 2020)*:

  1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (17,190 copies)
  2. Bluey: Verandah Santa (13,920 copies)
  3. Bluey: Hooray, It’s Christmas! (12,900 copies)
  4. The Traitor: Wolf Girl 4 by Anh Do (11,060 copies)
  5. The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (10,970 copies)
  6. The Sentinel by Lee Child & Andrew Child (10,350 copies)
  7. Code Name Bananas by David Walliams (10,240 copies)
  8. The Deep End: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 15 by Jeff Kinney (9,930 copies)
  9. Guinness World Records 2021 (9,470 copies)
  10. The Survivors by Jane Harper (8,970 copies)

Christmas Number Ones of the 2010s: Australia*:

  • 2020: A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  • 2019: Wrecking Ball: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14 by Jeff Kinney
  • 2018: The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape
  • 2017: 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
  • 2016: Double Down: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 11 by Jeff Kinney
  • 2015: Old School: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10 by Jeff Kinney
  • 2014: The Long Haul: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9 by Jeff Kinney
  • 2013: Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8 by Jeff Kinney
  • 2012: Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver
  • 2011: Cabin Fever: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6 by Jeff Kinney
  • 2010: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

*Data sourced from Nielsen BookScan’s Australian Book Market panel, measuring print book sales in Australia through its defined panel.

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Bianca Whiteley, Territory Manager, Nielsen Book Australia

(02) 8873 7451