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Andy Griffiths' 65-Storey Treehouse tops the bestseller lists for 2015

Earlier this week, Andy Griffiths delivered the manuscript for the next instalment in his Treehouse series, adding another 13 storeys to the 65 he and illustrator Terry Denton have already produced.

But The 78-Storey Treehouse – due in August – will have to be pretty special to top the performance of last year's model. Not only was The 65-Storey Treehouse the bestselling book in Australia in 2015, according to Nielsen BookScan, with about 312,000 copies being snapped up, but the other titles in the series applied a stranglehold to the top five spots in the list of bestselling books by Australian authors.

Griffiths' most recent series of escapades sold 87,000 copies more than the latest instalment in another popular series for younger readers, Jeff Kinney's Old School: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which edged out Grey, the latest erotica from Fifty Shades creator E. L. James.

Griffiths said he was totally surprised that his books occupied the top five spots for Australian authors. "We are pinching ourselves. I can't believe the kids are enjoying it so much and so passionately. It's always felt we were having an argument that this is the sort of thing that children want to read and now it feels like we've won the argument. It is funny to be on top because we always felt like underdogs doing comedy and doing it in the children's world. It's very odd, but a wonderful position to be in."

In a year that saw print books stage something of a fightback against their digital equivalents, perhaps the strangest –  and most inexplicable – phenomenon to emerge was that of the adult colouring book.  

Four titles were in the top 10 and overall the vibrant new genre accounted for more than 3 million books sold, with a value of $4.1 million. Last year saw 56.4 million printed books sold in Australia, with a value of $979 million – virtually identical to 2014 but with growth in value of 2.4 per cent. However, if the adult colouring books are excluded, sales dropped by 5.3 per cent and value dipped 1.7 per cent.

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Biographers, historians and memoirists would be plunged into gloom by the non-fiction chart, which saw seven colouring books in the top 10 and another five in the top 20, which otherwise featured food books and only one traditional non-fiction title, Peter FitzSimons' Fromelles and Pozieres.

The most hyped event of the year was the publication of Harper Lee's long missing first novel, Go Set a Watchman, which resulted in sales of 111,000, while 2014 Man Booker winner Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North sold a further 59,000 copies.

In a year that saw umpteen political memoirs and accounts of goings on in Canberra, it was the enduring interest in former PM Paul Keating that came out on top. Kerry O'Brien's Keating was the bestseller in the sector with 29,000 copies and was joined in the top 10 by The Book of Paul: The Wit and Wisdom of Paul Keating and David Day's biography, Paul Keating. Former federal minister and Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett's memoir, Big Blue Sky, sold 22,000, with Paddy Manning's biography of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull 10,000 copies behind.   

TOP 10 BESTSELLERS

1 The 65-Storey Treehouse, Andy Griffiths, 312,000 

2 Old School: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney, 225,000

3 Grey, E. L. James, 209,000

4 Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom, Millie Marotta, 173,000

5 The Mindfulness Colouring Book, Emma Farrarons, 173,000

6 The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, 161,000

7 Millie Marotta's Tropical Wonderland, Millie Marotta, 155,000

8 Everyday Super Food, Jamie Oliver, 142,000

9 American Sniper, Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, 115,000

10 The Little Book of Calm Colouring, David Sinden & Victoria Kay, 114,000 

Source: Nielsen BookScan

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