back to article Stieg Larsson: Oxfam's number one best seller

The author Brits are most likely to hand to charity store Oxfam is Dan Brown - the man responsible for turgid Vatican romp the Da Vinci Code. The charity's annual list puts Dan Brown in the top spot for the third year running. Climbing from eighth place to number three isTop Gear presenter and curly-haired clown Jeremy …


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  1. Code Monkey

    Simple explanation

    More books in the charity shops tyipcally indicates better sales to begin with. Seeing as more people buy Larsson, Brown, Clarkson, etc. - more people tire of them and ultimately more people pass them on to the charity shops.

    1. dotdavid
      Thumb Up


      Greater sales of new books will mostly correlate with greater sales of used books as, well, there are more of them about.

    2. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

      Thanks guys

      The rest of us were struggling to get our heads around that puzzle.

    3. David Webb


      So where is Terry Pratchett on that list? He's generally a best seller (ok, he's a best stolen, most stolen author....) but it's bloody difficult to find his books unless you're *very* lucky and someone has given their entire collection away (usually due to Death).

      The effect is that people don't want to part with stories they love (Harry Potter, Discworld) but give away trash novels that are meh (anything to do with Twilight) and you won't want to read again and again and again (1 book away from finishing my Discworld collection, buggered if I can find the ones I want in a charity shop though).

      1. Jedit Silver badge

        Discworld is not on the list...

        ... because Discworld novels actually have resale value - second hand bookshops know they can pass them through as fast as they come in, so offer more than the usual tuppence-ha'penny a book.

        On the other hand, I see almost as many Harry Potter novels in charity shops as I do Twilight. People tend to lose their love of Harry Potter when they discover there are books not written by JK Rowling.

    4. Annihilator

      Simple explanation - times 3

      Yup, that is indeed the simple explanation. Was the simple explanation last year and the year before that when the same story appeared...

    5. Starkadder

      Well, perhaps

      Have you actually run the numbers? It's a plausible and attractive theory, but not necessarily true. It does raise all sorts of other questions in one's mind though. for example, what percentage of those buying Dan Brown books actually finish them (or even start them)?

  2. Nick Haw


    I don't believe the Da Vinci code takes place in the Vatican... Angels and Demons does though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vatican?

      It was a trap. You fell for it.

      /ignores reader of BOTH banal, turgid, unbelievable, wooden charactered, reads-like-a-USAian-newspaper-article bollocks.

      1. Rich 30


        i thought the books were rather good. Good in the sence the entertained me. I am fairly dyslexic and struggle to read for any amount of time, so the short chapters really helped. It was like an action film, say Die Hard 4? Its never going to win an oscar, but entertains.

        People are too quick to slag off books like this. They might not be works of art, but i'm fairly certain they aren't meant to be. And sales speak for themselves....

  3. Whitter
    IT Angle

    Corperate chuggers.

    Bah humbug! Over-corperate, with eyewatering senior management costs.

    I avoid Oxfam shops these days, prefering local charity shops that have a clear focus and low overheads. Each to their own though.

    1. Paul Powell


      I work for a charity. Everyone here works for substantially less than charity sector rates let alone market rates. They also work very hard with many doing a lot of unpaid overtime. I think you're probably slighting a lot of people who work in the charity sector and make a real difference.

      People seem to have this silly idea that charities should all be run by OAP volunteers and spend nothing on administration. Why is it silly? because they also want the charity to be effective, efficient, and accountable. That means a heck of a lot of administrative work. Small administrative costs, effective, fully accountable - choose two!

      An example - I get people telling me that we should use email rather than print media to communicate with them because it's cheap. I guess that's because they have an experience of sending *an* email. What they don't get is that you have to send someone out to do the interviews, send someone to get the photos. Because some people don't want email we need to get a designer to put the thing together. We then also need to pay the printer and the mailing house - which with bulk discounts cost virtually the same amount as before. I then have to adapt that content for email and send it via a bulk mailing service. You can't send it through outlook as bulk mail gets rejected as spam if you do.

      I can give a hundred examples of such complexities and get fed up when people moan about this stuff with no idea of what it really involves or costs to get things done.

      I agree with senior executive pay being an issue (it isn't and issue here mind) - but you have to pay people a living wage - they do skilled jobs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Corperate chuggers

      A charity without paid admin staff would be rather like a headless chicken - no direction and wouldn't survive long

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I think you'll find the "turgid Vatican romp" was Angels & Demons.

    The Da Vinci Code was a turgid romp from Paris to London, then on to the beautiful little chapel at Roslin, just outside Edinburgh - well worth a visit :)

    Yeah, yeah, I'm going

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. neek

      The unfamous peon glared glaringly at his laptop monitor screen

      "The uploader has not made this video available in your country. " - boo!

      I did run into some amusing content while googling that phrase, though :)

  6. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Nothing like...

    ...dropping off a book describing computer hacking, anal sex and serial murder to the disenfranchised.

    That will help them out right quick.

  7. Graham Marsden

    Number one, but only because...

    ... they won't accept copies of Dianetics any more!

  8. Jon Smit

    Pleading poverty

    It's typical of Oxfam, that they claim all of their money goes for 'good works', yet they can waste time & effort collecting useless information like this.

    I gave up being an Oxfam volunteer when I discovered all shop managers had to phone their area managers first thing every Monday with full sales data. WTF is that about?

    Twice a year my shop was cleared to enable the *new season* of clothing to put on the racks. Who goes into a south Wales Oxfam to buy summer clothes in February?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Who buys summer clothes in south Wales?

      OK, OK, I've got my fleece-lined parka, I'm going...

  9. Reginald Reader

    Not surpising...

    that people quickly tire of a book with an average chapter length of 2.2 pages.

  10. dogged

    Never a more deserving case

    What, can anyone tell me ISN'T wrong with the The Da Vinci Code? I can't find anything.

    The plot is lifted straight from "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" which is a load of unjustifiable crap invented by two conmen to sell theories to women who don't feel that the Bible is girly enough, the dialogue is APPALLING, the research is non-fucking-existant - he gets the layout of the Louvre wrong when they even have a map online for fuck's sake - and as for "symbology", what is that meant to be?

    Semiotics for people stupid enough to buy Dan Brown books?

    I despair.

  11. disgruntled yank


    One thinks of the expression "Strictly for hunger" (see Wikipedia). Perhaps Oxfam could market book jackets with that motto?

    @NoneSuch: Over Here, operations comparable to Oxfam sell to anybody--the novelist and book dealer Larry McMurtry writes of frequenting the Washington, DC, Goodwill store. One is more likely to deprave the penurious college student--if that can be done (perhaps kids are more innocent now than they were in my college days)--than the truly disfranchised.

    1. unitron

      One thinks of the expression "Strictly for hunger" (see Wikipedia).

      I did, they agree with me that the phrase you seek is "strictly from hunger".

      You may be a Yank, but apparently not one who's ever been anywhere near the Borscht Belt.

  12. John Lewis 4

    More donations of Brown than Larsson

    but fewer sales. Obviously there's a Dan Brown Event Horizon slowly accumulating at an Oxfam shop near you.

  13. jolly


    Maybe there are less handed in but you can't move in my local charity shop for Ben Elton books <sigh />

  14. Juan Inamillion

    Upstairs, Downstairs

    I live in a very 'upmarket' part of London. There are several charity shops in the area that had good to excellent quality goods. One, The Red Cross, was particularly good. However, about a year ago it had a very expensive makeover, it now looks like a bit like a 'designer' shop. Obviously thinking of appealing to a more upmarket clientele.

    It still has all the same sort of stuff going through it but prices have risen, in some cases by a factor of ten. Result? Hardly anybody goes there...

    Bit off topic... sorry. I'll collect my shabby Prada coat...

  15. Ray 8

    Dan Brown books

    I wonder what will happen when the Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson books reach critical mass.

    One possiblilty is that they will condense into one big steaming turd

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