Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan have signed a contract to continue their Richard & Judy Book Club, in association with W H Smith, until 2019.
The celebrity couple help to select eight titles—mainly authored by new and emerging talent—three times a year: for Spring, Summer and Autumn Book Clubs. Reviews of each title feature on a dedicated website, and the pair also run a children’s book club with the retailer.
The husband and wife team, who have previously fronted ITV’s “This Morning” and “Richard & Judy” on Channel 4, first partnered with W H Smith for its Book Club in 2010. The contract was extended in 2011 (to 2015), and the duo have opted to continue the relationship, commiting to a new four-year partnership with the retailer.
Sales through the book club appear to be going strength to strength. Combined sales of the eight titles in 2015’s Spring Book Club—featuring paperbacks such as Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist (Picador), Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing (Penguin) and Sheila Hancock’s Miss Carter’s War (Bloomsbury)—were up 60% (to £4.6m) when compared against the Spring Book Club titles from the previous year, which included The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Hodder), Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doherty (Faber) and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Penguin).
Publishers are also keen to see the partnership continue. Lisa Milton, m.d. of Orion General, told The Bookseller: “The Richard & Judy Book Club set the standard when it was initially launched all those years ago [in 2004], and continues to be a major sales driver.
“Launching début authors and selecting major sellers long before anyone else—such as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl—it is very adept at recognising trends, being an early adopter and championing authors. Long may it continue.”