Dad’s the word for bookshops this Sunday (21st June) as booksellers look for a Father’s Day boost. While not yet quite at the same levels as its spousal rival Mother’s Day, booksellers from indies, Waterstones and Blackwell’s have said that Father’s Day is becoming increasingly lucrative in terms of book sales. The weekly Nielsen BookScan charts have begun to reflect this: last week (seven days to 6th June) American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwen (HarperCollins) rose to second place in the Official UK Top 50, the paperback of Guy Martin’s autobiography (Virgin) climbed to 14th overall, while Bear Grylls’ first adult novel, Ghost Flight (Orion), and Clive Cussler’s Piranha (Michael Joseph) both débuted in the Original Fiction top 10.
James Daunt, m.d. of Waterstones, said Father’s Day was becoming an increasingly notable market for his stores, particularly for non-book gift items. Although Daunt said stores were not expecting Kindle sales specifically to give them a boost this Sunday.
A spokesperson for the retailer said: “Father’s Day is a big gifting season and all of our shops use this opportunity to have windows and tables full of exciting gifts. Every Dad is different and shops tailor their displays to their market to have the best offers for their customers. The offer is a mix of gift ideas consisting of books, related product and Father’s Day cards.”
The chain is backing The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Transworld), Us by David Nicholls (Hodder), Ardennes 1944 by Antony Beevor (Penguin) and How to Tie a Tie (Potter Style) as ideal Father’s Day books.
Waterstones stores will also feature a Father’s Day poster which was created with the help of 30 young illustrators, winners of a competition Waterstones ran in March which asked young customers to draw a picture of their daring dad to be included in a “My Dad is a Superhero” portrait (see picture, left).
Katharine Fry, Blackwell’s head book buyer, said the company anticipated “some impact and uplift with Father’s Day, as it is growing every year”. Fry also backed Beevor’s Ardennes 1944 to get a sales boost, along with Stephen King’s Finders Keepers (Hodder), James Rebanks’ The Shepherd’s Life (Penguin) and Steve Hilton’s More Human (W H Allen).
A spokesperson for W H Smith also reckoned Beevor’s book would prove a hit with fathers, adding: “Bernard Cornwell is also likely to be one of our bestsellers.” The retailer is offering a “huge selection” of buy one get one half price paperbacks for Father’s Day.
Rosamund de la Hey, owner of the The Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells, Scotland, said Dad-based picture books were also likely to prove popular with customers.
She recommended Daddy Lion’s Tea Party by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton (HarperCollins Children’s Books), Daddy’s Sandwich by Pip Jones and Laura Hughes (Faber), When Dad Showed Me the Universe by Ulk Stark and Eva Eriksson (Gecko Press) and Superhero Dad by Joe Berger (Nosy Crow).
De la Hey said: “To be completely honest, Father’s Day hasn’t traditionally been huge for us...but it is building year on year.”