Media embraces Super Thursday

Media embraces Super Thursday

The media has embraced today's "Super Thursday" book bonanza, with coverage  from the Guardian and Independent and BBC Radio 4 broadcasting live from the Foyles store in King's Cross station, as well as local radio coverage.

The Independent declared that "sport, entertainment and cookery are the genres set to dominate", well as singling out books by Jennifer Saunders, David Jason and Sharon Osbourne as ones "tipped to fly off the shelves". It also predicted that Jamie Oliver's Save With Jamie (Michael Joseph), would be challenged for the christmas top spot by Super Thursday releases including Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones sequel Mad About the Boy (Jonathan Cape).

For the Guardian, Foyles web editor Jonathan Ruppin expressed problems with celebrity bookselling on Super Thursday. He said: "This annual short-cut to the news pages is as welcome to the book trade as a controversial literary award; it will boost sales for the big names and bring customers into bookshops, where we can present them with thousands of unexpected discoveries."

But he added that coverage was driven by the writer's back story, and said that high discounting of high-profile titles "skews perceptions of what is a reasonable price to pay across the board".

On BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz interviewed Garry Powell, manager of Foyles at King's Cross. Powell said that Super Thursday was a key event for the shop. He said: "It's a genuinely important event, I think every year it gets more important . . . I can see these books coming out today as the ones in the bestseller charts in the three or four weeks running up to Christmas."

Asked whether people had used the shop to browse new titles before buying from Amazon, he said: "People have come around from e-readers and Amazon to realise the value of bookshops." He added that it did not matter what kind of books customers bought. He said: "As long as people are reading books, that's the good thing, I don't mind if it's a celebrity memoir or heavy literature."

Waterstones m.d. Daunt also spoke out about the value of bookshops and physical books on the "Today" programme. He said: "I think the physical book will remain the predominant way in which people choose to read . . . There's a huge growth in percentage terms (of e-books) but in actual terms it's still a small part of the market."

He added: "The essential environment of the bookshop is so attractive and appealing to people of all ages, from those in a buggy to those pushing a zimmer frame… [Online shopping] is more convenient but the pleasure of a bookshop can't be dented. There's no other shop that appeals in the same way."