25.09.09 Graeme Neill writing in The Bookseller
A chef's take on American cuisine, the follow-up to a former Christmas number one and a quirky comic about an anarchic cat have been predicted as this year's Christmas bestsellers.
Retailers and wholesalers, including Waterstone's, Amazon and Gardners, were polled by The Bookseller this week to predict 2009's Christmas hits.
After Dan Brown sold more than 550,000 copies of The Lost Symbol in its first week, the trade was asked to omit it.
Jamie's America was the most popular title with four votes. Chris Rushby, buying director at Bertrams, said: "This is a complete no brainer . . . It's probably not the biggest Jamie title there has been but his name and brand means it well sell across every channel."
Saturday Night Peter, Peter Kay's long awaited follow-up to 2007 Christmas number one The Sound of Laughter, came second with three votes. Despite the lack of a television series, the trade felt the Bolton comic would be a strong seller.
The hot dark horse favourite was Canongate title Simon's Cat with three votes. Simon Tofield's comic is a word of mouth YouTube sensation, with more than 25 million hits in just over a year.
Retailers and wholesalers said it was one of the most diverse lists from publishers in recent years. Rachel Russell, business unit director for books at WH Smith, said: "There is a stellar fiction list with a lot more being published year on year. It also won't be a two horse race in non-fiction as the spread of publishing is very broad."
Amy Worth, head of book buying at Amazon.co.uk, added: "Usually there is one category that stands out more than another but this year there is a really good spread. There's great fiction, cookery, children's and celebrity."
Phil Edwards, senior buying manager at Gardners, said fiction has had one of its strongest line-ups for some time. Titles from Sebastian Faulks, Marian Keyes, Audrey Niffenegger and Cecelia Ahern are among the fiction titles due this autumn. Edwards said: "It is an area that has been weaker over the past few years."
A strong non-fiction list excluding celebrity titles was also lauded. Several identified Christopher Andrew's The Defence of the Realm, the first authorised biography of MI5, as a potential bestseller. Waterstone's Jennifer Berlin said: "This book is bound to be explosive, a must-read spy thriller that is completely and utterly true."
The book, published by Allen Lane, caps a strong autumn for Penguin. Ten of its titles were identified as Christmas hits, along with ten from Random House.
Blog: Jingle all the way?