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‘It’s incredible’ – Sally Rooney’s new novel already 2021’s best selling, says Waterstones

Novel third best-selling fiction title for 2021 after three days on the shelves

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Sally Rooney, Beatutiful World Where Are You new book goes on sale.. A customer leaves Dubray books on Grafton Street with the new book. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Sally Rooney, Beatutiful World Where Are You new book goes on sale.. A customer leaves Dubray books on Grafton Street with the new book. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Sally Rooney, Beatutiful World Where Are You new book goes on sale.. A customer leaves Dubray books on Grafton Street with the new book. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Sally Rooney’s latest novel is already the biggest selling fiction title of 2021 at Waterstones after a mere three days, the bookseller has confirmed.

Managing director James Daunt  said Beautiful World, Where Are You was the bookseller’s third best-selling fiction title for 2021 after just one day of sales and is now the best-selling fiction title of the year after three days on the shelves. 

Mr Daunt, who oversees over 280 bookshops across Ireland and the UK, said: “It is incredible. It is absolutely fantastic."

“It is astonishing. Maybe astonishing is the wrong word as we were expecting sales to be enormous.

“Sales are running at double Normal People. It is a fantastic reception. We are really pleased for Sally Rooney. Our booksellers love her. She has been so generous and kind with her time and effort over the years and everyone is really happy for her."

Waterstones here operates Hodges & Figgis in Dublin and a Waterstones in Cork. On Monday, the Castlebar writer signed copies for fans at the Waterstones flagship store at Piccadilly in London ahead of publication.

Mr Daunt said that since Waterstones re-opened after lockdown, book sales "have been incredibly strong".

He said that the appeal of Ms Rooney’s books are that they are “beautifully written and quietly and surreptitiously clever, and they capture the nature of relationships and human emotion in a very wise and compelling way. At the same time, they have this wonderful narrative drive to them.”

Publication of the Sally Rooney novel “has filled up the shops again and sets us up for what is a crucial time of the year and we need a good Christmas to get us back into shape after what has been a pretty terrible 18 months,” he said.

Tony Hayes, store manager at Hodges & Figgis in Dublin, said on Thursday that sales of the novel since Tuesday morning “have been non-stop”.

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"They are walking out the door,” he said. “We did an early morning opening on Tuesday and sales of the book never stopped the entire day."

Of the 280-plus Waterstones store network, Mr Hayes said that Hodges & Figgis has sold the most copies of the novel to date.

“We are leading the pack and it has been phenomenal,” he said. “It will be our best selling fiction title by a mile this year. Even today, sales of the novel are fantastic."

Mr Hayes said that Hodges & Figgis has sufficient copies in stock and on order to meet current demand, and added that Rooney’s novel has lifted the book sales of other writers since its release.

Head of Marketing at Eason’s, Brendan Corbett, said yesterday that all sales indications are showing that the novel is "the fastest selling book of the year so far for us”.

Figures provided by Nielsen Book yesterday show that Rooney’s other two novels, Normal People and Conversations with Friends, have sold over one million copies in the UK and Ireland.


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