Investing manual was Australia's best-selling book in 2017

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. Photo: Supplied

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. Photo: Supplied

It was the French writer and philosopher Voltaire who noted that it was "much more easy to write on money than to obtain it". But what about reading about it? Last year thousands of Australians snapped up Scott Pape's The Barefoot Investor in a bid to improve their lot.

Whether they obtained greater wealth is unclear, but Pape certainly did, possibly challenging Voltaire's maxim. His book was the bestselling book in Australia last year, racking up an impressive 438,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen BookScan, which surveys Australian book retailers.

The top 10 had a mix of familiar faces and a couple of newcomers. Perennial favourites Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton were in second spot - as they were in 2016 when they were pipped by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - with the latest in their Treehouse series selling 310,000 copies. Jamie Oliver, Jeff Kinney, Dan Brown and Lee Child were all in the top 10, as were Jimmy Barnes with his second memoir, Working Class Man, selling an impressive 111,000 copies in the final two months of the year. In 2016, Working Class Boy sold 119,000 copies.

Liane Moriarty got a significant flip from the TV adaptation of her 2014 novel, Big Little Lies, with the two available editions selling a combined 163,000 copies that put her in fifth spot overall, while Truly Madly Guilty, which sold 97,000 in 2016, the year it was published, sold a further 107,000. In addition, her 2013 novel, The Husband's Secret, sold 89,000 copies.

Moriarty also had success in Britain, where more than 112,000 copies of Truly Madly Guilty and more than 97,000 copies of Big Little Lies were sold.

Author Liane Moriarty. Photo: James Brickwood

Author Liane Moriarty. Photo: James Brickwood

Last year was a big one for crime writer Jane Harper, winning the Australian Book Industry book of the year award along with a host of others. Her first novel, The Dry, which was published in June 2016, sold 81,000 in 2017, and her second, Force of Nature, added another 69,000 to her tally. She too had success in Britain, where The Dry racked up sales of more than 132,000.

Despite the publication of novels by several former Miles Franklin winning authors and Man Booker winner Richard Flanagan's follow-up to The Narrow Road to the Deep North there were no literary fiction titles in the top Australian bestsellers. In Britain, the Arts Council England released a report last month that said sales of literary fiction there had fallen significantly in the past 15 years.

Jamie Oliver was the only big-name chef in the top 10s. Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck proved the most popular lifestyle book, while two diet books also featured in the non-fiction list, as did Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo's stories of inspiring women for children, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which sold 94,000 copies in Australia.

Overall, books sold increased from 53.6 million copies in 2016 to 55.5 million last year, a jump of 1.6 per cent. This compared with a dip of 3.5 per cent in 2016, but that was distorted by the absence of adult colouring books, a phenomenon that had been hugely popular in 2015. The total value of books sold last year was up from $968 million in 2016 to $1.07 billion.

This story Investing manual was Australia's best-selling book in 2017 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.