Booksellers are preparing for this year’s Super Thursday (20th October), with anticipated blockbusters from Jamie Oliver, Phil Collins and Martina Cole among a host of titles released that day with hopes of securing the Christmas number one.
Oliver will release his first exclusively festive title, Christmas Cookbook (Michael Joseph), a project the chef said he would “only do once” and which is “the culmination of 17 years’ work of fine-tuning the ultimate in amazing recipes, tricks and tips that will deliver every time and help make that special time of year the very best it can be”. The celebrity chef last topped the Christmas chart in 2012 with Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals; at the time it was his third successive Christmas Number One. He has sold 12.7 million books for a value of £157m since BookScan records began in 1998, and has claimed the Christmas pole five times.
Meanwhile Collins’ autobiography, promising his story “warts and all”, is released on the same day by Century. He will be looking to match the success of fellow musician Bruce Springsteen, whose autobiography went straight to the summit of the Official UK Top 50 last week (the chart covered the seven days to 1st October). At the signing of his book deal, Collins (pictured below) said: “Several times over the past few years I have been asked to write a biography, but I never felt that the time was right—until now. I am ready to go on record about my life in music, with all the highs and all the lows, and to tell the story from my point of view, warts and all.”
Martina Cole’s latest, Betrayal (Headline), is also set to get bookshop tills ringing on Super Thursday. Cole has sold more than nine million print books for a total of £61m, according to Nielsen BookScan; her most recent, Get Even (June), sold 116,005 copies in hardback. It is a sign of her success that it was the first of the prolific author’s titles in the BookScan era not to claim the Original Fiction number one.
A fresh batch of Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups, which became a barnstorming hit last Christmas, are set to give another boost to the Humour category, with nine new titles out on 20th October, including The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse and The Ladybird Book of the Sickie. The spoof titles were a big hit with booksellers and customers alike last Christmas, selling over a million collective copies in the UK at the end of last year, with How it Works: The Husband claiming the Christmas number one. To date, the books in the series have sold 2.1 million copies for a value of £11.8m.
Other stand-out titles released on Super Thursday are Alan Patridge: Nomad (Orion), Patricia Cornwell’s Chaos (HarperCollins) and two memoirs from pop bands: The Vamps: Our Story (Headline) and Little Mix’s Our World (Penguin).
Sali Hughes’ beauty book Pretty Iconic: A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World (Fourth Estate) is also out on Thursday, along with fiction in the shape of Ali Smith’s Autumn (Hamish Hamilton), Andy McNab’s Cold Blood (Bantam Press) and Jenny Colgan’s Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery (Sphere).
Chris White, fiction buyer at Waterstones, said: “Super Thursday always feels like Christmas come early for booksellers and anything that gets the wider world talking about books can only be positive.
“On the non-fiction and fiction sides respectively, only a fool would bet against Jamie Oliver and Martina Cole, and clearly the new tranche of Ladybird books will provide a rocket boost to Humour sales.”