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Estonia’s bestseller, 2012: When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen

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PHOTO: Internet

Last year’s most popular paper copy book in Estonia was Sofi Oksanen’s When the Doves Disappeared, adorning the book shelves of 12,009 homes. In e-book format, the novel translated by Jan Kaus and published by Varrak, has been purchased 198 times.

PHOTO: Andres Haabu

The translation of When the Doves Disappeared came first, ahead of the translation of E. L. James’ scandalous Fifty Shades of Grey, becoming available almost simultaneously, by 1,809 copies – the latter reaching 10,200 sales.

Of Estonian authors, Tõnu Õnnepalu placed highest with Mandala (7,154 copies sold).

Estonian sales «gold» went to Sofi Oksanen for the second time already; in 2009 she triumphed with Purge, selling 16,982 paper copies. Purge has continued to be a success, with 1,805 copies sold in 2012.

Over the last seven years of Estonian Publishers’ Association working with sales’ statistics, the all-time record belongs to  Andrus Kivirähk, whose The ManWho Spoke Snakishsold 24,000 copies in 2007. Even though the snakish-book is no longer amongst the top 100 bestsellers, Kivirähk’s popularity has not declined. In 2012, three of his books made it into the list: Stories (2,929 sold), Lotte from Gadgetville (1,766) and The Poopand the Spring(1,662).

Compared to the 2011 list, where Aive Luigela’s cookery book on healthy eating, Tervise kokaraamat, came first with 13,183 copies sold, last year’s result are more varied, with all categories represented and no big gaps evident.

Know-how and self-help books continue to dominate the top 100 with 36 titles in 2011 and 35 in 2012. Fiction was slightly better represented with 14 titles (10 in 2011).

However, there were 15 titles selling over 5,000 copies last year – beating 2012 by two titles. In 2007, however, the magic barrier was broken by as many as 34 books.

If in 2010 and 2011, translations accounted for over 60 per cent of the listed books, 2012 saw the percentage of translations lowered to 46.


1. Sofi Oksanen, When the Doves Disappeared (Varrak) 12,009

2. E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey (Pilgrim) 10,200

3. TEAencyclopedia, volume 9(TEA) 8,103

4. TEAencyclopediavolume 8 (TEA) 8,097

5. Pilvi Kula, preschool workbook  Valmistume kooliks. Part 1 (Koolibri) 7,317

6. Tõnu Õnnepalu, Mandala (Varrak) 7,154

7. Aleksei Turovski, Loomadest, armastusega (on animals, with love, Varrak) 6,692

8. Natalia Trofimova, Paastuga terveks (healed by fasting, Varrak) 6,098

9. Pilvi Kula, preschool workbook Valmistume kooliks. Part 2 (Koolibri) 5,993

10. London 2012. XXX Summer Olympic Games (compiled by Gunnar Press, Ajakirjade Kirjastus) 5,757

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