12.12.08 Graeme Neill and Victoria Gallagher writing in The Bookseller
Retailers have dubbed Barack Obama, Julie Walters (pic left with another celeb!)and Paul O'Grady as the big winners this Christmas, but said Jonathan Ross was the season's biggest loser.
Retailers' predictions of success for the big celebrity memoirs by Michael Parkinson and Paul O'Grady earlier this autumn were backed by sales. Phil Edwards, senior buying manager at Gardners, said: "The favourites all worked very well this year with no dark horses."
But celebrity memoirs failed to set independent bookshops alight. "The mass market is always a disappointment to us," said Nic Bottomley of Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath.
Literary fiction has instead been a popular stocking filler across indies, with Aravind Adiga's Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The White Tiger (Atlantic), picked by many indies as well as the other five titles shortlisted for the prize. "It was a very, very good Man Booker shortlist for independents," said Vivian Archer of the Newham Bookshop, "one of our best".
In children's books, retailers said that aside from The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the main success has been Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. "It's a banker," said a Waterstone's spokesman.
"Sales started nice and early for us but we are expecting a big boost once the movie comes out on 19th December."