The Bookseller – Bestsellers – Fiction: Osman’s cozy crime pays off once again

Richard Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice (Penguin) has soared into the Official UK Top 50 number one spot, selling 43,768 copies in its launch week. This is an almost eerily consistent launch-week showing—Osman’s début The Thursday Murder Club hit the charts in hardback in September 2020, selling 45,037 copies in its first week, then its paperback arrived on the scene in May 2021 with 44,096 copies sold. The Man Who Died Twice‘s paperback shifted just 418 copies fewer last week. Have we identified the core Osman fanbase at around 44,000 book-buyers? of course, The Man Who Died Twice‘s hardback is the outlier, debuting in September 2021 with an eye-watering 114,202 copies sold.

While the rabid pre-ordering fans, Osmaniacs if you will, may number 44,000, there are of course many, many more people casually picking the cozy crime duology off the supermarket or bookshop shelves. The Thursday Murder Club has notched up 50,000 copies short of a million units sold. Its hardback, which was released just weeks before the UK would be plunged back into lockdown twice, sold even more, according to publisher Penguin Random House (Nielsen BookScan was unable to report sales figures during lockdown periods, so its total sales stand at just under 700,000 copies on the site). Despite its incredible success so far, it seemed at least some buyers were coming to the series for the first time last week, with The Thursday Murder Club rocketing back up the Top 50 with 8,359 copies sold.

The Man Who Died Twice has similarly stellar total figures, notching up a whisker under 650,000 copies sold. Why does Osman sell so well in hardback? Of course, name recognition will make book-buyers more confident about shelling out the extra for the hardback rather than waiting months for the paperback release. But also, they aren’t reaching that much further into their pockets—The Thursday Murder Club‘s asp clocks in at just £9.50, just £3.85 up on the paperback, and though The Man Who Died Twice‘s hard-back was priced £4 higher than its predecessor, at £18.99, its average selling price is £10.84.

New titles flooded into Original Fiction, with Mick Herron’s Bad Actors (Baskerville) scoring the author’s first category chart top spot, following the Apple TV+ drop of the Gary Oldman-starring adaptation. Sarah Cox’s Thrown (Coronet), Sophie Irwin’s A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting (HarperCollins) and Gillian McAllister’s Wrong Place, Wrong Time (Michael Joseph) soared into the top four, with Gill Sims’ The Saturday Night Sauvignon Sisterhood (HarperCollins) securing sixth.

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