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Celebrity memoir still viable, says Hachette head
06.07.10 | Catherine Neilan
Celebrity memoirs and autobiographies are still viable in the UK market, the head of the country's biggest publisher has said.
Tim Hely Hutchinson, chief executive of Hachette UK, acknowledged that "certain" non-fiction was "no longer profitable as people get their information from other sources than books". However, he said there was still life in autobiography as a genre, as long as the subject "has a real following and a strong story to tell".
Hely Hutchinson was speaking to The Bookseller in response to the magazine's half-year review of publisher performance, which will be published in full in the magazine on Friday. The analysis shows that the celebrity biography genre is in growth this year, with five titles having sold more than 10,000 copies by July, a feat achieved by no titles last year.
Hely Hutchinson highlighted Headline's success with Jo Brand's 2009 memoir Look Back in Hunger. "As always, the book must be the best of its type and then people will want to read it. The steep fall in autobiography in 2009 and early 2010 was all to do with what the industry was offering the public," he said. "There is no negative trend."
As a result, he is heading bullishly into the autumn with memoirs by "big stars who have lived fantastically interesting lives and, consequently, have a riveting story to tell".
Key among the forthcoming celebrity titles for the Hachette group are Kenny Dalglish's My Liverpool Years (Hodder & Stoughton), Life: Keith Richards (W&N), Michael Caine's The Elephant to Hollywood (H&S), Brand's follow up Can't Stand Up For Sitting Down (Headline) and Judi Dench's memoir And Furthermore (W&N).