Ear Trumpets & Alternative Bestsellers

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Still galloping off the shelves: Terms & Conditions

‘Among our Christmas bestsellers, the clear winner was Minoo Dinshaw’s superb Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman. Figures were higher than they might have been because we sold books at Minoo’s terrific launch party at the Polish Club, but it continued to sell throughout the autumn.

Not surprisingly, the highest selling novel was Robert Harris’s Conclave, but the splendid dark horse has been Ysenda Maxtone Graham’s Terms & Conditions: Life in Girls’ Boarding-Schools, 1939-1979, published by Slightly Foxed. It outsold all books here in 2016 apart from Minoo’s, and has even outstripped that in the subsequent weeks. A late starter, published only at the beginning of November, a full six weeks after Conclave, Ysenda’s book had a clear run at full gallop and, to the amazement of all, caught up with the Harris. For the last few days before Christmas the two books matched each other sale for sale, but by the 24th December Terms & Conditions had pushed into the lead by a handful of copies: a triumph for a small publisher (who had to manage quick reprints, something they are unaccustomed to) as well as for Ysenda herself.’

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