Sally Rooney books earn €8m as RTÉ gets '49 pieces of unhappy feedback' over Normal People

Sally Rooney’s best selling Normal People and her debut novel, Conversations with Friends have generated an estimated €8.37m in book sales here and the UK.
Sally Rooney books earn €8m as RTÉ gets '49 pieces of unhappy feedback' over Normal People

Sally Rooney’s best selling Normal People and her debut novel, Conversations with Friends have generated an estimated €8.37m in book sales here and the UK.

That is according to figures provided by Nielsen Bookscan as the Castlebar native’s Normal People has jumped to the number one spot in the best-sellers list in the UK and Ireland two years after the book was first published.

Figures provided by Nielsen Bookscan show that Rooney’s two novels have enjoyed sales generating £6.18m (€6.97m) in the UK and €1.4m here.

The figures show that Rooney’s Normal People alone has generated sales revenues of £4.38m (€4.92m) in the UK and €1m here in Ireland as a result of the massive popularity of the TV adaptation of the novel.

The 29-year-old is also feted in the US where Sarah Jessica Parker was an early fan, endorsing Conversations with Friends in an Instagram post saying: "This book. This book. I read it in one day. I hear I’m not alone.”

The Sex & The City star definitely is not alone as separate figures provided by the US based NPD BookScan show that Conversations with Friends has sold 121,000 copies in the US.

NPD Bookscan also confirm that Normal People has sold 184,000 copies to date in the US bringing the overall total of Rooney’s book sales in the US to 305,000 - and counting.

NPD Bookscan do not provide revenues generated by the books in the US but the combined revenues from sales of Rooney’s books in the US, the UK and here would comfortably top €12 million.

The TCD graduate of course only receives a fraction of the millions generated by her book sales as the lion’s share is shared between retailer and publisher.

Typically authors would receive around 10% of the net price paid by retailers to publishers as a royalty so on a paperback version of a book priced at €8.99, an author would expect to receive around 45c per copy.

Ms Rooney will also have profited from the adaptation rights of her two novels to the small screen.

The Element Pictures team that produced Normal People is already working on producing Conversations with Friends.

Ms Rooney also has some way to go before matching the earning power of probably the country’s most popular author in terms of books sales, Marian Keyes.

Separate figures provided by Nielsen Bookscan show that Keyes’s books have generated £44m (€49,4m) in sales in the UK and €6.7m here across her career.

On the impact of the TV series, a spokeswoman for RTÉ said today: “We are only halfway through the hit series and Normal People is already setting records on RTÉ and worldwide.

“The response and reaction has been hugely positive so far and the figures speak for themselves with almost 1.5 million streams on RTÉ Player. We’re proud to show the beautiful story about Connell and Marianne on RTÉ, particularly at a time that people at home need some entertainment and escapism."

The third instalment of Normal People (eps 5 & 6) this week had an average overnight figure of 343,000 live viewers on television with a 40% share for 15-34s and 39% share for over 55s.

On viewer feedback, the spokeswoman said that there were no formal complaints made to RTÉ in relation to Normal People.

She said however: “We received 49 pieces of feedback from the public (via email and phone) to date expressing unhappiness and disappointment with the content of the show. There were eight positive pieces of feedback. It is worth noting that there has been a hugely positive response from our viewers on social media.”

Trinity College features prominently in the work of Sally Rooney and a spokeswoman for TCD said today: “Trinity is thrilled at the success of its talented alumnus Sally Rooney and happy to see such global recognition for the TV adaptation of Normal People, which was not only partly filmed on campus, but was also directed by a Trinity graduate in Lenny Abrahamson.”

She said that the TV series “has showcased the talents of so many gifted students from the Lir Academy. We are delighted that, through this show, Trinity's campus has been introduced to such a large TV audience”.

More in this section

Price info
IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up