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Alice Munro and the Nobel sales effect

(photo: Derek Shapton)

There were plenty of cheers on Oct. 10 when Alice Munro became the first Canadian resident (and the 13th woman) to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. But did the excitement translate to actual book sales?

BookNet Canada wanted to determine if there was a Nobel effect on book buying. The non-profit agency partnered with Nielsen Book to analyze sales in 10 countries, including Spain, India, South Africa, and Australia. The report covers an eight-week period, from the week ending Sept. 21 through to Nov. 10, and includes all of Munro’s available in-print titles (hardcover and paperback only) in both English and in translation.

Here are some of the report highlights:

  • There was a Canadian sales increase of 4,424 per cent between the weeks of Sept. 21 and Oct. 19
  • The week of the win had the highest increase, from 94 units to 6,345 units (translates to a rise of 6,650 per cent) nationwide
  • Out of all the countries surveyed, the U.S. saw the biggest spike, increasing from around 3,000 units to more than 32,600 units the week ending Nov. 2
  • In comparison with the Nobel and other honours, Canada Reads still comes out on top with a 4,465 per cent sales increase from the time when the shortlist is revealed to when the winner is announced

BookNet Canada concludes the report by stating it would like to send Munro “a virtual high five and a bear hug.”