Friday, September 14, 2007


This story from The Bookseller:

The battle for Christmas will be fought mostly in the kitchen, as retailers tip the cookery market as the strongest sector for festive sales.
Booksellers are unanimous that publishers have served up a strong food and drink offering this autumn. The battle for top spot has already begun, with Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home outselling Nigella Lawson's Nigella Express by two to one. Both £25 hardbacks have been subject to heavy discounting.
"A huge amount has been invested in the Jamie book but it faces a lot of competition," said Phil Edwards at Gardners. "There have always been cookery books released at this time of year but in 2007 there has been a glut."
Waterstone's Jon Woolcott agreed. "We haven't had a big high-profile Nigella title for a while, and the same goes for Gordon Ramsay."

Aside from cookery, retailers said publishers had taken a safety-first approach. "Last year some publishers got burnt by buying books that didn't work by celebs of the moment," said Asda book buyer Steph Bateson. "This time they have gone for tried-and-tested brands, with less focus on Z-list celebrities."

In sports, memoirs from F1 star Lewis Hamilton and the iconic Sir Bobby Charlton are most heavily tipped for the top. But retailers seem convinced there is not one stand-out Christmas title this year. One admitted: "The line-up of books is pretty flat when you take Jamie and Nigella out of the equation." Some said they would miss Paul O'Grady's memoir, delayed by Transworld.

Tesco's Gaynor Allen believes the market will benefit from a wider pool of quality titles: "There will be a range of strong performers. But saying that, no one thought this time last year that Peter Kay would have performed so well." At W H Smith, Rachel Russell has been "surprised" by the success of Clarissa Dickson Wright's memoir—"a good example of how, with the right publicity, a book can capture the market."

In fiction, Patricia Cornwell's The Book of the Dead is tipped as a guaranteed bestseller. Russell also named Kate Mosse's Sepulchre as a strong seller. The children's market will be dominated by film tie-in editions of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, although retailers also highlighted new titles in the Alex Rider and Young Bond series. Caroline Mileham at Borders tipped tie-ins to TV series "In the Night Garden".

The price war shows little sign of abating. No retailers were willing to reveal their strategies publicly, but many talk privately about the importance of value to customers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've received my Nigella Lawson & Jamie Oliver cookbooks via Amazon and they are both delish! Wished that Jamie's had more of the hand-drawn illustrations seen on the TV series, but the food is great along with the instructions for growing the veges & fruit. Nigella writes so you feel like you've had a meal just from reading the text, mostly meals that can realistically be achieved by a home cook. Probably more I'd actually cook in Nigella's than Jamie's but I love them both.