Found this interesting article on the Times Online via Blog of a Bookslut: apparently the Scottish book Bestseller’s chart compiled by the SPA (Scottish Publisher’s Association) should be filed under the heading ‘fiction’. The article claims that the placings of certain titles often bear no relation to the actual sales figures here in chilly Caledonia.
I’m actually a little surprised since among the many things I’ve done in the book trade over the years compiling bestsellers for Scottish titles to provide to the SPA was something I managed often (I was asked by our former events person to keep them up to date when she was busy). The national figures are compiled by the SPA from individual bookstores in this manner and I was happy to do our bit, especially since I’ve always supported Scottish writing in all shapes and forms (I still contribute to a Scottish history journal).
Obviously such a system can only be as accurate as the information supplied to the SPA by booksellers. I know that the information we supplied as a branch was accurate and I can’t see why any other bookstores would be misleading, so it is all a bit of a surprise and understandably has annoyed several authors.
For you information, gentle reader, here was the breakdown of the last Scottish Books Bestsellers I was privy to before the Expulsion (in reverse order):
10) Tossing the Caber – a History of Male Masturbation in the Scottish Highlands, 1703-2005 by Professor Archie McShoogle.
9) The Bonnie Prince – Charlie: Stylish Dresser or Cross Dresser? by Michael Dundee Smith.
8) Festival Floozy – How To Score With Celebs at the Edinburgh Festival, by Angela Hussybum.
7) Singularity Beards by Charles Stross
6) The Adventures of Comrade SpaceSquid, volume one of the Reactionary Forces trilogy by Ken MacLeod
5) Pictures of Scottish Castles and Glens at sunset by Colin Baxter
4) Pictures of Scottish Castles and Glens at sunrise by Colin Baxter
3) Why My New Novel is Overdue by Alisdair Gray
2) Consider a Curry, by Iain M Banks
1) Inspector Rebus: How Clean is Your Crime Scene? by Ian Rankin
I ask you, how could that be taken as ficticious? Oh okay – Iain Banks and Ian Rankin take half the top ten for themselves and Oor Wullie and the Broons take the rest!