Book buyers' appetite for fast food tips puts Oliver on top

JAMIE OLIVER'S culinary rescue for time-poor cooks is poised to be the number one book this Christmas.

The Briqtish chef's latest recipe collection, Jamie's 15-Minute Meals, is outselling its closest rival, Diary of Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, two to one and has crowded out E L James's Fifty Shades of Grey, the tale of a billionaire's predilection for bondage.

The QBD chain, with stores in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, expects to have sold out its 22,000 copies of Oliver's Jamie's 15-Minute Meals by Christmas Eve, more than twice the number it sold last year of Oliver's 30-minute meals.

Sophie Higgins, senior category buyer for Dymocks, said: ''It's definitely the zeitgeist. It's far and away our biggest seller and I'm confident it will be the case, unless there are stock issues, until Christmas.''

On the children's front, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel is ''walking out the door'' said Paul Macdonald, of The Children's Bookstore in Beecroft, as the Jeff Kinney series continues to find new readers and hang on to the old. Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series is popular as is Andy Griffiths' The 26-Storey Treehouse.

''Many parents and grandparents say they would rather give a child a book than an electronic game,'' Mr Macdonald said.

There is a lot of love for the late Australian author Bryce Courtenay. His Jack of Diamonds is leading Dymocks' fiction category, pipping Maeve Binchy's A Week in Winter, and J.K. Rowling's first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy.

In the month since the release of Jack of Diamonds , Dymocks has sold three times as many copies of the book as it sold Courtenay's previous novel, Fortune Cookie.

Fifty Shades has slipped to number 16 according to Bookscan, in the week ending December 1, suggesting the tale of Christian and Anastasia is not perceived as an ideal Christmas gift.

The previous week it was number 13 and the week before it was number nine.

''Its sales are definitely declining,'' said Ms Higgins. But, she said, its influence remained. ''What we're finding now is that romance has been repackaged to become more modern and cool, and it's reaching a far wider audience.''

The Essential Leunig: Cartoons From A Winding Path, Ian Rankin's Standing in Another Man's Grave, Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver and Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize winner, are all jostling for buyer favour among Australia's largest independent bookstores.

Film ties have given old releases such as The Hobbit, Life of Pi and the 1999 coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower new life.

Hugh Howey's science fiction omnibus Wool, to which director and producer Ridley Scott has bought the film rights, is appealing to readers who devoured The Hunger Games series.

This story Book buyers' appetite for fast food tips puts Oliver on top first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.