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Astérix beats Fifty Shades as France's 2013 best-selling book

This year's French best-seller - Astérix and the Picts
This year's French best-seller - Astérix and the Picts Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Astérix the Gaul took on all-comers in France's bookshops in 2013, his adventures in Scotland topping the book sales charts with over a million sales. The second place was held by something very different - the second volume of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Astérix chez les Pictes (Asterix and the Picts) - the 35th Astérix comic strip album - was Frances's top-selling book in 2013, with 1,287,500 copies flying off the shelves, according to rankings by the Ipsos polling agency for Livres Hebdo magazine.

Another estimate, issued earlier this month, put the sales at an even higher 1,634,490.

The album, written and illustrated by Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad rather than the original authors, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, has been published in 25 languages, from English to Chinese and has been a best-seller in its homeland.

The small Gaul was even more attractive to French readers than sado-masochist seducer Christian Grey, the hero of British author EL James's Fifty Shades of Grey.

All three volumes of the French translation of Shades have sold 1,515,000 but the second volume, published here in 2013, topped the 500,000 mark without getting anywhere near the million in the Ipsos/Livres Hebdo ranking.

Dan Brown's Inferno made it to third place with 400,000.

Top-sellers to young people were the three volumes of the adaptation of the film The Hunger Games, although the most popular paperback in the category was more traditional and more French ... it was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince).

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