Brexit may be the daily headline in the UK right now, but British readers still like their European authors.
According to research commissioned by the Man Booker International Prize (as reported in the UK’s The Bookseller), sales of translated fiction grew 5.5% last year, led by authors like Norway’s Jo Nesbø, Sweden’s David Lagercrantz and Jonas Jonasson, and Leila Slimani of France.
The Bookseller refers to Nielsen data suggesting,
translated fiction had sales worth £20.7m in 2018, with the “general/literary fiction” category growing by 20%. Translations made up 5.63% of fiction published in the UK.
French, asserts The Bookseller, comprised
the highest proportion, at 17% of sales. But, for books published in the past five years, Norwegian and Swedish authors were most popular.
The rise was mainly down to a good year for the top five authors on the list, who made up just over 25% of the total sales.
Other takeaways from the report are that fiction originating in Chinese, Arabic, Icelandic and Polish are increasingly popular.
And perhaps most surprising, this:
Despite the three top-selling titles being from the crime and thriller genre, that category actually declined by 19% over the year. Meanwhile, translated short stories and anthologies saw sales surge by 90%.
For publishers elsewhere translations into English present a growing opportunity for authors and publishers as the global book markets digitise and analogue barriers to commercial distribution fall.
Via The Bookseller.