We wanted to take a look back at 2013 and pull together a list of the bestselling titles in the year and highlight the surprise packages of the year. The only problem with this is that it can be a little bit tricky to judge books fairly when some of them have been out for 12 months, whilst others have only been on the block for a mere 6 weeks. So to work out our lists we our sales through a rather neat calculation which should hopefully level the playing field! First we will reveal the top 5 bestsellers for the year, followed by a series-by-series breakdown.

So here we go!

The Top 5!
1) The First World War: The War To End All Wars - published in June, this repackaged edition of our Essential Histories titles flew out of the door as major retailers prepared themselves for the increased interest in the First World War with the 100th anniversary of its outbreak on the horizon. Personally (I may have mentioned this before) I think it was the cover. So striking.

2) Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II - Prit Buttar followed up his bestselling Battleground Prussia with another absolute gem of a book. It flew off shelves (both real and digital-internetty ones) on both sides of the Atlantic at such a rapid rate that we could barely keep up with the demand. Fans of the fantastic Mr Buttar don't have to wait that long for his next book, the first in a new trilogy of titles uncovering the Eastern Front of the First World War. Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914 is out in June.

3) Campaign 255: The Naval Battles for Guadalcanal 1942: Clash for supremacy in the Pacific - our first series title in the top 5, and is it any surprise that it is a title from our Campaign series? Mark Stille does an excellent job (as ever) in this fantastic book.

4) Bolt Action 2: Armies of the United States - wow this was a close race, it was neck and neck between BOLT 2 and Bolt Action 3: Armies of Great Britain, but in the end the US book held off the brave challenge and pulled away towards the end of the year (eventually beating BOLT 3 into a very respectable 7th place overall).

5) New Vanguard 198 Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919-45 (1) Minekaze to Shiratsuyu Classes - it seems like WW2 Pacific titles were on everyone's reading list - either that or it was the attraction of another Mark Stille book. The second book in the series, covering Asashio to Tachibana Classes published in September. 


Air Vanguard:

Bestseller: AVG 4 Martin B-26 Marauder
Surprise Package: AVG 9 Su-25 Frogfoot - (only came third overall in the series, being beaten to second by the Hurricane title, but a very strong performance for one of our more left field choices for the series in 2013)

Aircraft of the Aces:

Bestseller: ACE 103 KI-27 Nate Aces
Surprise Package: ACE 116 Aces of Jagdgeschwader 3 ' Udet' - not a huge surprise that this title performed well, but what did take our breath away was the pace that it sold - it caused a bit of panic in the days leading up to Christmas as we prepared a rapid reprint!

Bolt Action:

Bestseller: Bolt 2 Armies of the United States
Surprise Package: The surprise was that there was no surprise. Slots 1, 2 and 3 taken up by USA, Britain and the Soviet Union. Though the German supplement (a 2012 title so excluded from this count) came close to breaking into the top 3.


Bestseller: CAM 255 The Naval Battles for Guadalcanal 1942: Clash for supremacy in the Pacific
Surprise Package: CAM 256 Fallen Timbers 1794: The US Army's first victory obviously had the benefit of nearly a full year of sales to back itself up, so figured highly in the overall bestsellers category, but the book that really impressed us in terms of the speed that it sold was the long awaited CAM 252: The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74 which stormed out of the blocks when it published in October 2013.


Bestseller: A very close call here, CBT 1, 2 and 3 were all pretty neck and neck in the final quarter of the year, with CBT 2: Union Infantryman vs Confederate Infantryman - Eastern Theater 1861-65 just shading it.
Surprise Package: CBT 3 British Infantryman vs Zulu Warrior - Anglo-Zulu War 1879 came within less than a hundred copies of CBT 2, with strong global sales giving it a phenomenal boost and triggering an early reprint for the book. That said, the whole series deserves a mention - we worked really hard on the series (and thanks to all of your help and suggestions) we knew we had something a bit special on our hands. Each of the first four books are consistently selling month in, month out and the whole future of the series looks very bright.


Bestseller: CMD 30 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - it was the only Command title published in 2013!
Surprise Package: Not a 2013 book this time - a 2014 title. That is right, keep an eye out for a surprise CMD title in 2014 (some of you eagle-eyed viewers have already spotted it!)

Combat Aircraft

Bestseller: COM 100: He 111 Kampfgeschwader on the Russian Front
Surprise Package: Modern aircraft tend to be a greater gamble in any of our aviation series as they often lack the spark that WW2 and WW1 aircraft have. But when a plane is this ugly... and was initially rather unloved by the men who flew it we were astonished to see how well it sold in the first 6 months it was available. COM 98 A-10 Thunderbolt II Units of Operation Enduring Freedom 2002-07 take a bow!

Dark Osprey

Bestseller: We Will Destroy Your Planet: An Alien's Guide to Conquering the Earth
Surprise Package: When we re-released our first ever Dark Osprey title Zombies: A Hunter's Guide to mark the launch of the series proper we knew a few collectors would appreciate the leather bound special edition. Turns out all those The Walking Dead, The Last of Us, World War Z fans also wanted to get their hands on a copy. Now we just need to come up with an idea of what to do for the super-special edition.


Bestseller: Duel 51 Bf 110 vs Lancaster 1942-45
Surprise Package: Again, this is another one of those titles that wasn't exactly a surprise - but if you had asked us at the beginning of the year we would have been our number 1 draft pick. In the end Duel 53 M10 Tank Destroyer vs StuG III Assault Gun: Germany 1944 finished in a very accomplished second place in the overall Duel rankings.


So that is the first part of our epic reveal. Did you pick up any of these titles yourself? And which books from these series stood out as your own personal 2013 favourite?

Part 2 of our bestsellers and surprise packages blog will be out later this week.