Titles by Cleese and Fry sold about 60,000 copies each, according to Nielsen BookScan, which found that sales in the autobiographies and memoirs genre were down almost 4% compared with 2013.
Just five titles have sold more than 100,000 this year – two fewer than last year.
Graham Norton’s second memoir, The Life and Loves of a He-Devil, has shifted 44,000 copies, Paul Merton’s Only When I Laugh has sold 17,000, while just 8,000 succumbed to the delights of glamour model Kelly Brook’s Close-up.
Philip Jones, editor of the Bookseller, told the Independent: “In a lot of these cases, it’s their second or third book. There’s a little bit of exhaustion. You expect a big celebrity book to be selling 200,000 at this point and a lot of them aren’t.”
There’s Something I’ve Been Dying To Tell You, the autobiography by the late Lynda Bellingham has proved the most popular of 2014, selling 265,000 copies.
Guy Martin, Britain’s top motorcycle racer, has sold 168,000 copies of his autobiography, while the book by former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was bought by 149,000.
Charlie Redmayne, chief executive of HarperCollins UK, said he had slashed the number of manuscripts by celebrities that the publisher was buying.
He said such titles were risky because celebrities had to be paid large advances but their works lacked longevity in sales terms. “You’d have three weeks of sales and then it would be gone,” Redmayne told the Independent.