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Harry Potter and Nigella Lawson are Britain's favourite reads

Nigella Express

Story by Jack Foley

HARRY Potter & The Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling, and Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson, are the two best-selling books in Britain, according to a new poll by Amazon.co.uk that seeks to expose the favourite reading habits of literary fans around the world.

Germans also opted for Harry Potter as their number one choice, but unlike Britons – who favour literature by television personalities – they prefer books about travel and the great outdoors.

Americans, meanwhile, prefer self-improvement books, while the French opt for fiction and a really good read.

Amazon has compiled the list of the best-selling books on its sites in Britain, America, France, Japan and Germany and shown that nations have very diverse tastes – even if JK Rowling features prominently throughout the world.

Indeed, the final chapter in the Harry Potter saga topped the poll in four out of five of the countries profiled, while in Japan it still managed third place.

Japan’s best seller was Yukuko Tanaka’s Face Massage, followed swiftly by Inspiring Exercise – so maybe you can detect a theme.

The British top 10 is dominated by celebrity names – whether it’s JK Rowling, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver (who charts at three with Jamie At Home: Cook Your Way To The Good Life), or Richard Hammond (whose On The Edge came in fifth).

Russell Brand also made the top 10 with his book, My Booky Wook, while a book devoted to useless trivia is at fourth, entitled Do Ants Have Arseholes? And 101 Other Bloody Ridiculous Questions.

Only three works of fiction made it into the British top 10 – the other two (aside from Harry Potter) being Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Sons and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Son.

This is in stark contrast to France, where seven works of fiction were included in the top 10, including L’elegance du herrison, about a suicidal girl and her apartment building’s caretaker, and Chagrin d’ecole, about a miserable student.

America’s best-seller, after Harry Potter, was The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Kes Nielsen, head of book-buying at Amazon.co.uk, told The Times newspaper that the list reflected the increasing clout of celebrities in the marketplace.

The UK top 10:

1) Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows
2) Nigella Express
3) Jamie At Home: Cook Your Way To The Good Life
4) Do Ants Have Arseholes? And 101 Other Bloody Useless Questions
5) On The Edge
6) My Booky Wook
7) QI: The Book Of General Ignorance
8) Half Of A Yellow Sun
9) The God Delusion
10) A Thousand Splendid Suns