Oct 15 - Booksellers are gearing up for the vital six week countdown to Christmas, when consumers choose which paperbacks to give as gifts. Celebrity autobiographies look to be popular again this year, but as Joanna Partridge reports literary prizes also guarantee sales success for authors.
He won two gold medals at the London Olympics. Now Mo Farah is in the running for an altogether different kind of award - a bestseller. His autobiography Twin Ambitions looks set to race up the sales chart as booksellers get ready for the all-important Christmas season. Jon Howells from book retailer Waterstones says the new Bridget Jones novel and some celebrity autobiographies already look set to be hits. SOUNDBITE: Jon Howells, PR and Brand Communications Manager, saying (English): "People feel reassured when they're buying something for somebody they know they're a fan of, they know they can't go wrong. If you're a sports fan andyou're buying somebody Mo Farah or Harry Rednapp or somebody like that, you're going to get it right. With literature, with novels, it's slightly more difficult, you've got to know the person slightly better." PTC The publishing industry has already kicked off its countdown to Christmas with so-called Super Thursday, when hundreds of new titles hit the shelves. Once again this year it looks like celebrity memoirs will be among the top sellers. Another sure-fire sales driver are literary prizes. Hot on the heels of the Nobel Prize for Literature comes this year's Man Booker. It's awarded to the best novel of the year - written by a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen. Jim Crace's Harvest is this year's favourite. But whoever is awarded the accolade can expect a boost. GFX Hilary Mantel saw sales of her Wolf Hall rise significantly in the week after she won in 2009. Three years later she scooped the award again with Bring up the Bodies - and saw a similar surge. But less well known author Howard Jacobson did even better when his novel won in 2010 - seeing a near 2000% increase The six weeks before Christmas are vital for book retailers. Even those who prefer e-readers to paperbacks are likely to give books as gifts. SOUNDBITE: Jon Howells, PR and Brand Communications Manager, saying (English): "You can't wrap up an ebook, it doesn't actually exist in any shape or form, so it's not the greatest present. A digital reader, a lovely present. But there is nothing better than finding a few physical books under your tree." And with an estimated 25% per cent of annual book sales made during the key Christmas period it's not just Olympic medallists and Booker winners hoping to be in a few Christmas stockings.