Non-fiction deals top the bestseller charts from LBF

<p>UK publishers preparing to strike book fair deals should look out for non-fiction titles, with the top four bestselling LBF books over the past five years coming from that section of the market. </p><p>An analysis of selected titles signed during the London Book Fair and reported in<em> The Bookseller&#39;</em>s London dailies from 2005 through to 2009 revealed that non-fiction titles dominated.</p><p>John Grisham&#39;s first non-fiction book, <em>The Innocent Man</em>, about a man arrested for a crime he did not commit, topped the chart. The title was signed by Century in 2005 and has since sold 747,770 copies in the UK, a weekly average sale of more than 4,000 copies. <em>The Suspicions of Mr Whicher</em> by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury) and <em>QI: The Book of General Ignorance</em> by John Lloyd (Faber) hold third and four positions, selling 466,239 and 436,328 respectively.</p><p>Bill Bryson&#39;s<em> Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid </em>has also sold well, coming in second place with average weekly sales of 3,836. However, sales expectations have often been higher than the reality. Patrick Janson-Smith bought the rights for Bryson&#39;s title in 2005, predicting UK sales in hardback alone would surpass one million copies. He was over optimistic, the title has sold 728,850 across all editions.<br /><br />Publishers should not be swayed by big name biographies, as previous fair flops include<em> Ken</em> by Andrew Hoskin, about former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, for which Arcadia Books paid its &quot;largest ever advance&quot; in 2007. Cassell Illustrated also paid a &quot;healthy five-figure sum&quot; for world rights in the authorised biography of indie band Babyshambles. However, the ensuing title, <em>Beg, Steal or Borrow</em> by Spencer Honniball, has only sold 1,604 copies.<br /><br />A number of deals reported are yet to result in publication. In 2007, Jamie Oliver&#39;s long-time publisher Penguin, signed him up to write a memoir, which was due out in autumn 2008. The publisher said the book is &quot;still very much on the radar&quot;, but a new publication date has not been scheduled.<br /></p>