France’s Bestselling Books in 2014

valerie merciHere’s a list of the ten bestselling books in France for 2014.

  1. Merci pour ce moment (Thank You for This Moment) by Valérie Trierweiler. This memoir by Président Holland’s former companion sold 603,300 copies.
  2. Cinquante nuances de Grey (50 Shades of Grey) by E.L. James (575,600 copies sold)
  3. Central Park by Guillaume Musso (556,600 copies sold)
  4. La femme parfaite est une connasse ! (The Ideal Woman is a Bitch) by Anne-Sophie Girard and Marie Aldine
  5. Demain (Tomorrow) by Guillaume Musso
  6. Cinquante nuances plus sombres (50 Shades Darker) by EL James
  7. Nos étoiles contraires (The Fault in our Stars) by John Green
  8. Muchachas 1 by Katherine Pancol
  9. Cinquante nuances plus claires (50 Shades Freed) by EL James
  10. La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert (The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair), paperback version, by Joël Dicker.

I haven’t been able to find out how many copies of numbers 4 to 10 were sold (I’d need to subscribe to Livreshebdo for a year for a hefty sum to do that) but number 12 bestseller of 2014, Le suicide français (French Suicide) by Eric Zemmour sold 338,200 copies. So anything between roughly 340,000 and 550,000 apiece for those ten books.

I can use a couple of these books to illustrate how different covers for French and English editions can be in some cases. Out of our top 10, Green, James, Pancol and Musso have the same cover design, and the Girard/Aldine title hasn’t made it into English yet. But for Trierweiler and Dicker, the covers are quite distinct. The French Trierweiler is above. So here’s the English language edition cover.

valerie thank you

Definitely a lot more interesting-looking.

And here is the French Harry Quebert:

harryq french

Not the worst, but rather a lot of white. And here’s the English:

harryq eng

Heaps more modern. French book covers, at least for adult fiction, do tend to send you to sleep. Time to liven up I think.

Back to our bestsellers. Out of the top 50 bestsellers, 39 were fiction including a good number of ‘livres d’évasion’ (escapist) and even, heavens help us, some humour titles! This apparently corresponds with the modern French desire to ‘se changer les idées’, change their attitudes, according to the list’s compiler GfK. Readers vote for, and I quote, “les feel good books” – some nice franglais for you there!

Total sales of the Top 50 books came to 13.3 million books and 174 million euros (thus giving an average sales price of €13.08), accounting respectively for 4,5 % and 5,2 % of the total book market for the year.

Generally, book sales in France via bookshops (in store and online) in 2014 fell by 1.4% overall from 2013, and by 3.7% for the largest independent bookshops, according to Sebastien Rouault, head of the book department at GfK, a market research firm in Paris. However, a few bookshops saw increased sales, such as Le Comptoir des Mots bookshop in Paris, whose sales were up by 5%. The owner thinks that defectors from Amazon were one reason for the increase.

And to finish on a writerly note, today sees literary magazine, Magazine Littéraire (what else!) take a new more colourful and livelier format. . That sounds rather like what the French book scene is doing.

Stand Up And Be Counted: 2015 Census in France

census header

The 2015 recensement – census – is underway in France. It got going on 15th January (finishing 14th Feb for smaller communes 7,000 inhabitants) and a week or so later for larger places. The census is an ongoing affair in France, with certain parts of the country done each year and the whole nation covered within five years. For example, Nouzerines is being on a five-yearly-cycle that includes 2015, whereas our neighbouring commune in Creuse, Bussière St Georges, had its most recent census last year, 2014.

We’re being censused for the second time since living in France, the last one being in 2010. This year, we can do it online. The agent has given us the necessary codes and all we have to do is log in and get busy answering the questions. The website is at which gives general information on what the census is all about and why it’s necessary, and you can see all the findings from previous years.

In honour of this year’s recensement, we got a house number! This was part of the rather splendid-sounding numérotation (numbering) of the houses in the commune. There’s only us living here at Les Fragnes, but we’re now 1 Les Fragnes.

Last time the census was taken there were 247 people in our commune of Nouzerines, with an extra 3 comptée à part i.e. second-homers. The population of France at 1 January 2015 was 66.32 millions. Dipping into a few more facts and figures, there are now 1.7 million families with 3 or more children (what’s called a famille nombreuse), and these account for 1 in 5 of French families. Families with an immigrant as the head of it are generally the largest, with their children tending to conform to the national average and having smaller families themselves.

Poor old Creuse continues to lose population. It was down to 120,156 in 2014 from 121,517 in 2012, and Limousin as a region (consists of Creuse, Corrèze and Haute Vienne) is down by a little over 3,000 to 735,889 in the same period. Between 1999 and 2011 Limousin’s population had increased by an amazing 27,000 (almost exclusively in Haute Vienne) but it’s falling again.

Well, I’ve taken a short break from writing this and filled in the census forms. It took about twenty minutes so not too onerous. So we’re all officially accounted for until 2020. Actually, it’s not so much stand up and be counted as sit down at your computer and count yourself!