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Trade hails autumn recession-busters
21.06.09 | Benedicte Page
Booksellers and publishers are banking on a "showbizzy" autumn to defy the economic downturn, with a slew of celebrity-led books lining up for pre-Christmas release, along with an unusually strong list of "five-star" rated fiction authors being published in October.
Penguin m.d. Helen Fraser said: "We need something to inject real pizzazz and excitement into the market, and publishers are doing a good job of providing it this year."
According to a selection of new fiction titles compiled by The Bookseller, October will be outstanding for commercial novels, with new books from 17 authors who carry a Nielsen BookScan five-star rating. These include James Patterson, Robert Harris, Kate Mosse, Patricia Cornwell, Martina Cole, Cecelia Ahern, Bernard Cornwell, Eoin Colfer and Terry Pratchett. They follow a literary September, with Hornby, Faulks and Atwood, as well as "Dan Brown day" on 15th September.
Toby Bourne, Waterstone's head of fiction, said: "There will be a wonderful line-up of fiction this autumn season. There's a huge breadth of range, from the literary giants to the most commercial authors of the day—truly something for everyone this Christmas." Borders buying manager Michael Jones said: "I love that there are so many big fiction names, so varied and with such big followings."
Publishers also hope the whole trade will benefit from a raft of big celebs, with Ozzy Osbourne's long-awaited memoir the latest title confirmed for the autumn. Random House Group chair and c.e.o. Dame Gail Rebuck said: "There is an argument that in times of economic difficulty, creativity soars—and that is certainly the case this autumn with an incredibly strong list of books on offer, both in literary quality and pure entertainment."
But Headline deputy m.d. Kerr McRae warned: "If you're a male comedian, you're in trouble—the choice is too broad. The upside for everyone is that it is showbizzy and there are a couple of iconic figures."
The big celebs for Christmas
Ant & Dec Ooh! What a Lovely Pair Penguin
Sheryl Gascoigne Loving Gazza Penguin
Aled Jones Aled Jones’ Forty Favourite Hymns RH
Michael Palin Halfway to Hollywood: 1980 to 1988 Orion
Jack Dee Thanks for Nothing TW
Russell Brand My Booky Wook 2 HC
Peter Kay Saturday Night Peter RH
Harry Hill TV Burp RH
Dara O’Briain Tickling the English Penguin
Chris Evans The Autobiography HC
Simon Pegg Out of “Spaced” Hodder
Katie Price Standing Out RH
Leona Lewis Leona Hodder
Jo Brand Look Back in Hunger Headline
Ozzy Osbourne I Am Ozzy Sphere