Put Your Picture With A Celebrity Biography
According to industry figures quoted in The Bookseller, sales of biographies and memoirs fell by 43 per cent in October compared to the same month last year.
Publishers released the usual glut of celebrity books at the end of September in time for the lucrative Christmas market. Although books were released by bankable stars like Paul Scholes, the footballer, and MIchael Buble, the singer, industry experts said that no books were released by “national treasures” such as Keith Richards, whose autobiography was a best-seller last year.
Over the month of October, just six celebrity memoirs generated more than £100,000 in sales, while only three – by comedians Lee Evans and James Corden and boyband One Direction – sold in excess of 20,000 copies.
By contrast in October 2010, 18 celebrity memoirs took more than £100,000 in sales. Ten titles sold more than 20,000 copies over that month, according to analysis by Nielsen Bookscan.
Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef, has particularly struggled to match the success he enjoyed last year. His 30-Minute Meals book sold 241,230 copies in October last year. However this year’s book by Mr Oliver, Jamie’s Great Britain, sold just 61,786 copies in October.
One book industry insider said that the range of books on sale this year is not as strong as last year.
“This year it is essentially a bunch of 30-something comedians all fighting over the same slice of the market. There is also not much to appeal to ladies,” he said, adding that the recession has pushed total book sales down by around 5 per cent this year.
The rise in popularity of e-book readers such as Kindle has also taken sales away from the physical book market, experts said.
Tom Weldon, chief executive of Penguin UK, Mr Oliver’s publisher, said that he is happy with sales of the chef’s new book.
“Jamie’s sales pattern differs year to year, and Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals is a genuine publishing phenomenon – the fastest selling non-fiction hardback in UK history. Jamie’s Great Britain is performing extremely well in the context of the overall market,” said Mr Weldon.