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Auckland, NZ, 20 December 2018 – Author, Lee Child, tops Nielsen’s 2018 Christmas Bestsellers list with Past Tense: Jack Reacher 23, having sold 3,476 copies during the week 9 December to 15 December 2018. According to Nielsen Book, the leading provider of search, commerce, consumer research and retail sales analysis services for the book industry, this is the second time Lee Child has held the top spot on the list – his first debut was in 2016 with Night School: Jack Reacher 21.  

Past Tense just beat David Walliams’ The Ice Monster to number one by 34 copies, with both titles alternating in the number one spot for the past four weeks. David Walliams took the top spot in 2017 with his previous title, Bad Dad over Lee Child’s The Midnight Line: Jack Reacher 22. Lee Child is not the first author to have held the top spot more than once since Nielsen BookScan began tracking book sales in New Zealand 10 years ago. Annabel Langbein has been number one a record four times – in 2010, 2011, 2012 and in 2014 – with each one of her cookbooks in the series based on the TV show of the same name, The Free Range Cook.

Over the last five years, revenue from New Zealand Christmas book sales has jumped by over 24%, according to Nielsen Book. This year, New Zealand Christmas book sales measured by the volume and value of book purchases made in the four weeks running up to the holiday, rose to 844,000 in volume compared to just over 613,000 in 2014. This equates to over $3.6m more in revenue in 2018 than the same period in 2014.

“Christmas is such a vital time for the book industry,” said Julie Winters, General Manager, Nielsen Book Pacific. “In the 10 years that Nielsen has been tracking book sales in New Zealand, we’ve seen significant growth in sales over the Christmas shopping season and this year is no exception. The Christmas period accounts for approximately 14% of annual book sales, over double the figure of an average four-week period (6%), showing just how important Christmas is to the New Zealand book industry.”

The Top 10 Christmas Bestsellers list contains a mix of Fiction (four titles), Children’s (three titles) and Non-Fiction (three titles) books showing the breadth of Christmas purchasing by consumers. This year’s surprise contender (and the New Zealand-published number one) is The Wonky Donkey, marking the first time a picture book has been in the Christmas Top 10 since 2011. Its success is attributed to the viral internet sensation of “The Scottish Granny” who delighted in reading this story to her grandchild.

Nielsen Book Top 10 Christmas Bestseller List (ranked by copies sold in week 9 December to 15 December 2018)*:

  1. Past Tense: Jack Reacher 23 by Lee Child
  2. The Ice Monster by David Walliams
  3. Becoming by Michele Obama
  4. The Meltdown: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 13 by Jeff Kinney
  5. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
  6. The Reckoning by John Grisham
  7. Made in Scotland by Billy Connelly
  8. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  9. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith, illustrated by Katz Cowley
  10. Rich Enough? by Mary Holm

*Data sourced from Nielsen BookScan New Zealand Total Market measuring print book sales in New Zealand through its defined panel.

The Christmas period is good news for authors, publishers and book retailers of all sizes, not just those concerned with the top 10 charts. During an average Christmas sales week, approximately 39,000 book titles are sold. That is more than an average week during the rest of the year when approximately 30,000 titles are sold, showing the extent to which buyers go beyond the normal title range when it comes to filling up their Christmas shopping baskets.

About Nielsen Book

Nielsen Book is a leading provider of search, discovery, commerce, consumer research and retail sales analysis services globally. Nielsen runs the Registration Agencies (ISBN and SAN Agencies for UK & Ireland), provides search and discovery products through its Nielsen BookData product range, electronic trading via Nielsen BookNet and PubEasy services, retail sales analysis via Nielsen BookScan and consumer research through its Books and Consumer Survey. BookScan is the world’s largest continuous sales analysis service and operates in 10 countries and 4 continents. Retail sales information is collected at the point of sale from thousands of outlets in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, India, Mexico and Brazil. Publishers, booksellers and libraries can use the information to assist strategic, acquisition and purchasing decisions. The company is wholly owned by Nielsen. For more information, please visit:

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit



Bashar Basheer

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