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UK sales of translated fiction grew in 2018

In the UK, Nielsen Book statistics commissioned by the Man Booker International Prize show that translated fiction sales in the UK grew by 5.5% in 2018, with sales of £20.7 million ($A38.8 million).

In the category of general/literary fiction between 2017 and 2018, overall sales decreased slightly, but translated titles grew by 20%. There was also a significant increase in the translated short stories and anthologies category, in which sales grew by 90%.

Other findings include that translated fiction in the UK is primarily European, with 17% of translated fiction sales being translations from French, and for books published in the last five years, titles originating in Norwegian and Swedish are the most popular. Nielsen also found that sales of crime and thriller novels, which have historically been large contributors to the sales of translated fiction, have declined by 19%.

Volume sales of books translated from Polish, Icelandic, Chinese and Arabic have also grown steadily over the last five years.

‘Despite what has clearly been a surge of interest in translated fiction, people still tend to cite the outdated “three percent” statistic about the proportion of translated fiction published in the UK,’ said co-chair of the UK translators association Charlotte Collins.

‘As we can see, this proportion has almost doubled in recent years … This is really exciting news, and welcome confirmation that publishers have responded to the proven popularity and marketability of translated literature.’



Category: International news