Fifty Shades novels take top 3 slots in list of best books of decade

Fifty Shades novels take the top THREE slots in list of popular books of the decade… with Jamie Oliver and Harry Potter filling out the top five

  • Trilogy took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in list of UK’s 50 most popular books of 2010s
  • The series, which was made into successful films, sold 11.2million copies in total
  • Jamie Oliver also enjoyed success, coming fourth with Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals 

It’s the phenomenon that made the whole world gasp.

And whether enjoyed as a guilty pleasure or bible, Fifty Shades Of Grey captured the imaginations of so many readers that it has been named the bestselling book of the decade.

The trilogy by EL James took first, second and third place in a list of the UK’s top 50 most popular books of the 2010s.

The series, which was made into a successful film franchise and which charts the raunchy relationship between businessman Christian Grey and protagonist Anastasia Steele, sold 11.2million copies in total.

Topping the list, compiled by publishing magazine The Bookseller, was the debut book Fifty Shades Of Grey, published in 2011, which sold 4.73million copies, followed by 2012’s Fifty Shades Darker with 3.37million and the third title Fifty Shades Freed with 3.11million.

EL James’s spin-off novel Grey, which sold 1.11million, was also in the top 20.

TV chef Jamie Oliver also enjoyed success, coming fourth with Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, selling 1.87million copies. His 5 Ingredients and 15-Minute Meals titles are also in the top 20, with 1.14million and 1.12million respectively.


Topping the list, compiled by publishing magazine The Bookseller, was the debut book Fifty Shades Of Grey, published in 2011, which sold 4.73million copies, followed by 2012’s Fifty Shades Darker with 3.37million and the third title Fifty Shades Freed with 3.11million

In fifth was the script for the hit West End play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, which sold 1.52million. 

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone was also in the top 50, despite being released 12 years ago.

Joe Wicks’s diet and exercise book Lean In 15: The Shift Plan followed with 1.37million sales.


Left: Other books in the top 50 include The Official Highway Code. Right: TV chef Jamie Oliver also enjoyed success, coming fourth with Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, selling 1.87million copies

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy titles are all in the top 20 – though they were all published before 2010 – with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest highest at number seven.

Also in the top ten was David Walliams’s children’s book Gangsta Granny, selling 1.35million, while his titles Billionaire Boy and Mr Stink are also in the top 20.

In total, he has 11 books in the list and was hailed as a ‘literary phenomenon’ by the magazine. Psychological thrillers also did well, with Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train in ninth and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl in tenth.


Left: Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train came in ninth. Right: In fifth was the script for the hit West End play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, which sold 1.52million


Left: Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy titles are all in the top 20 – though they were all published before 2010 – with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest highest at number seven. Right: Also in the top ten was David Walliams’s children’s book Gangsta Granny, selling 1.35million, while his titles Billionaire Boy and Mr Stink are also in the top 20

Other books in the top 50 include The Official Highway Code, Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography and children’s book The Gruffalo. 

The Bookseller’s chart is based on data from the Nielsen BookScan Total Consumer Market, which looks at ‘print book sales’ from roughly 6,500 retailers.

The Bookseller pointed out that, during the decade, e-books had not overshadowed print. It also noted that five of the top 20 books had ‘girl’ in the title.

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