• The Publishing Post

Shuffling of the Shelves, February 2022

By Jenn Shelton, Hannah Moore and Holly Watson


Competition has been fierce this month! From The Love Hypothesis and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo to thrilling mysteries by well-known authors such as James Patterson and Harlan Coben, romance and crime novels have been topping the bestseller charts. We have also seen a resurgence in popularity of fantasy classics Dune by Frank Herbert and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien due to new film and TV adaptations.


Richard Osman dominates the Amazon charts this month with The Thursday Murder Club at #8 and The Man Who Died Twice taking the #10 spot. Faith Hogan’s The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club is sandwiched between Osman’s two novels at #9. Hogan’s novel is available as an eBook on Kindle Unlimited and is to be published in May 2022. Hogan touches on topics that are relatable in the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the importance of community. Interestingly, Elly Griffiths’ novel, The Locked Room, has crept in at #20. Like Hogan’s novel, Griffiths touches on the theme of COVID-19, showing the impact COVID-19 has on her recurring character Dr. Ruth Galloway as she tries to solve a murder mystery but is prevented by a lockdown.


Sarah J. Maas shot to #5 on the Waterstones bestsellers this month with the highly anticipated release of House of Sky and Breath, which is featured on their homepage along with an author interview. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson comes in at the coveted #3 spot. Nelson’s debut novel is emotional, complex and “shines a light on the ways love and race can be interlinked in modern society” (Waterstones). It has been shortlisted for a number of awards and won the Costa First Novel Award. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes is at #7, having been boosted by the release of its sequel Again, Rachel which sits at #21. Rachel’s Holiday was released in 1997 and has sold over 1.5 million copies.


Art Spiegelman’s The Complete MAUS takes the #2 spot in The Sunday Times general paperbacks chart, likely due to the controversial decision of a Tennessee school to remove the book from its curriculum on the Holocaust. Rabbit Hole, Mark Billingham’s thriller that follows a psychiatric patient trying to solve the murder of a fellow patient, claims #7 in fiction paperbacks, while Andrea Mara’s novel of the same genre, All Her Fault, sits just above it after receiving much praise from critics. Remaining a fixture for sixteen weeks now, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is at #8 up from #9 last week – clearly this Hollywood romance novel is not falling off the charts any time soon.


Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt is a Waterstones and Amazon bestseller and has been in the Amazon charts for 117 weeks. It has gradually moved its way to #1 on the Amazon Non-Fiction list, rising twelve places since the start of the month. The success of Kay’s novel has led to the creation of a BBC adaptation starring Ben Whishaw. Not only has Kay’s bestselling novel made it onto TV, but he brings his tour This is Going to Hurt… More to arenas around the United Kingdom from September. The tour contains “never-heard-before stories,” including some from his forthcoming book Undoctored, which comes out in late September. In the age of the pandemic, it is clear why Kay’s novel (and TV adaptation) would do so well with readers, both highlighting societal issues such as racism within the workplace and depicting a much-underfunded NHS.


In the age of social media, there’s no shortage of book recommendations to be found, especially on TikTok. Booktok has been romance focused this month, with Valentine's Day reads dominating. Sally Thorne’s enemies-to-lovers romance, The Hating Game, has appeared plenty and its setting in a publishing company office makes it a fun read for publishing hopefuls! Similarly, The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas has taken TikTok by storm with its story of a fake boyfriend and its escapist setting in Spain. Another sunny romance getting many of us through the winter months is You and Me on Vacation. Emily Henry has written the perfect beach read as we follow two friends and potential lovers on holiday.


Colleen Hoover is the rock star of the charts this month. Hoover writes young adult fiction and romance novels and is known for her emotion-inducing writing. Her first novel, Slammed, was self-published in 2012 and grew in popularity online, making it onto the New York Times eBook fiction bestseller list. After the success of Slammed and its sequel, Point of No Retreat, Hoover was signed by Simon & Schuster. In 2022, thanks to TikTok, It Ends with Us went viral for the second time since its publication and has been trending across social media, continuing to top bestseller charts. A movie adaptation is in the works and the sequel to It Ends with Us is to be released on 18 October 2022 – which is being heavily promoted by Simon & Schuster. Hoover continues to dominate across the charts and social media with It Ends with Us, Verity and Ugly Love.


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