Celebrity Titles Tipped to Support 2010 Christmas Book Sales

in Celebrity

The three months from October through to December are a crucial time for the book industry as publishers battle to place their books on December's bestseller lists.

Indeed, according to Nielsen BookScan, which monitors sales figures of books, by value one fifth of sales in the book-selling industry are made in the run-up to Christmas. This has made the 1st of October a crucial day, where up to 800 hardback titles in the UK are released. Last year some 2,500 books were published. Including paperbacks, eBooks and audio books, this is up to three times the usual number of releases in one week.

Publishers choose the start of October in order to build momentum around a title, giving a book time to gain reviews, word of mouth and some early sales. Given that it is usually a handful of top tipped titles that generate the majority of sales, this early release date gives a title time to distinguish itself from the pack and fuel interest.

This interest is stoked by industry speculation and bookies' calculations that offer odds on the books vying for the number one Christmas slot – making the Christmas bestseller list somewhat similar to the UK music industry's race for the number one Christmas single.

Analysts at Nielsen BookScan have noted it can be notoriously difficult to predict which titles will do well. Up until 2008, celebrity memoirs were seen as guaranteed cash cows and 2008's biggest celebrity autobiography from Paul O'Grady pulled in an estimated £6m. Last year it was Russell brand's memoir that made it to the top spot.

Although Brand's celebrity book did well, Christmas 2009 saw a drop in sales Waterstone's and WH Smith. This result was blamed on a glut of poor celebrity titles released, with lacklustre autobiographies from one too many male comedians, Leona Lewis and C-list Sheryl Gascoigne. Jonathan Ruppin at the independent book chain Foyles noted that the celebrity book market had peaked, with a public no longer stirred by receiving the latest celebrity gossip year after year in their stockings.

This year might buck the trend though with hopeful booksellers offering a strong, eclectic selection to satisfy those curious for some celebrity news – but from the right kind of celebrities. These include Tony Blair's autobiography, an important release; Keith Richard's long-awaited rock'n'roll biography Life; and Stephen Hawking's first major book since A Brief History of Time, The Grand Design. These go head to head with two national treasures, Stephen Fry and Judi Dench.

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Andrew Joyce has 1 articles online

Andrew Joyce is a freelance journalist building his profile in celebrity news and film reviews. This year he's hoping to find Justine Picardie's book on Coco Chanel in his stocking and Judi Dench's memoir.

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This article was published on 2010/12/03
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