Competition ramps up on autumn's first big release date

Competition ramps up on autumn's first big release date

The autumn bookselling season's already crowded first big release date has become even more packed, with over 150 extra trade titles piling into the 3rd September slot in recent weeks as publishers continue to scramble and adjust coronavirus-affected schedules. 

Earlier this summer, The Bookseller called 3rd September a "mini-Super Thursday", with around 140 hardbacks that could be classified as trade titles scheduled to be released that day, including what are likely to be some of the biggest titles of the run-in to Christmas: Ant and Dec's Once Upon a Tyne (Sphere), Richard Osman's move into crime with The Thursday Murder Club (Viking) and Oi Aadvark! (Hodder Children's), the latest in Kes Gray and Jim Field's Oi series. Since then, about a further 120 trade hardbacks have either been announced or moved into 3rd September. The total of around 260 trade hardbacks (we estimate as many titles have trade and non-trade crossover) scheduled to be published on that date represents a 20% rise on circa 205 trade hardbacks released in the first Thursday of September 2019. 

Including academic and professional books, 590 harbacks will be released on 3rd September, a 28% jump on the equivalent date last year. Since the beginning of lockdown, 210 titles have moved publication date into the month of September.   

Ebury has a particualrly strong 3rd September with Yotam Ottolenghi's Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, Caitlin Moran's More Than a Woman, Will Young's "manifesto/memoir" To Be a Gay Man (moved from May) and what may be a quirky, under-the-radar Christmas hit, Monsters of River and Rock, a fishing memoir from Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith. 

While there are no other celebrity memoirs approaching Ant and Dec-level starriness out on 3rd September, the releases in that space seem to be following the "memoir-plus" model of celebs writing in a more literary style or on a specific issue, such as Alan Davies Just Ignore Him (Little, Brown), podcaster/comedian Adam Buxton's Ramble Book (Mudlark) and Vinnie Jones' grief memoir, Lost Without You (Orion Spring). 

Osman is not the only person in the "him/her off the telly" moving into the fiction space. After shifting £1.1m in all print editions with her debut novel Never Greener (Bantam), "Gavin & Stacey" creator Ruth Jones' Us Three (Bantam) is poised to challenge Osman for the Original Fiction number one. Meanwhile, BBC presenter Jeremy Vine's first novel, The Diver and the Lover (Coronet)—about love, intrigue and Salvador Dali and set in 1950s Spain—is also out.

After Ottolenghi, the big cookery release is Nadiya Husain's Nadiya Bakes (Michael Joseph), while in sport, a rich seam for the entire autumn will be books around Liverpool's Premier League championship season. The 3rd has two official club tie-ins by club captain Jordan Henderson and manager Jurgen Klopp (both published by Reach Sport), while comedian Lucy Lexx's humour title, Klopp Actually (Coronet) imagines her life married to "football's most sensible heartthrob".