Bookshops around the country are gearing up to cash in on the Tour de France.
Anticipation of the sporting fixture, which begins in Yorkshire on Saturday 5th July, has reached fever pitch, with one bookseller saying customers were “going mad for it.”
Cycling books have already been flying off the shelves, some reported, with sales up 5.7% to 3,295 in the last week. Nielsen’s latest BookScan chart shows that there are 20 cycling themed titles in this week's TCM 5,000 compared to 13 the week before. The first leg of the event will begin in Leeds and make its way through Harrogate, York and Sheffield.
Carol Peel, manager of Grove Bookshop in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, where the race will pass through on Saturday (5th July), said the shop had seen a steady flow of cycling-related books over the past few weeks, but expected them to “take off” over the weekend.
“We have about 40 cycling-related titles in stock for the occasion, from bike repair books to Chris Froome’s autobiography”, said Peel. “The whole place has gone Tour de France mad, everyone is talking about it so, yes, I think it will be good for business. We are expecting a huge influx of people for it this weekend.” The shop is sporting a Tour de France banner and a bike in the front window in-keeping with the spirit of the locals.
David Ford, owner of Saltaire Bookshop near Bradford, has placed posters in the hedging outside his shop with comical cycling-themed takes on book titles, for example ‘Wuthering Bikes’, ‘A Brave new Wheel by All Does Lovely’ and ‘Hard Climbs by What the Dickens’. He said many other shops in the village had Tour de France-themed windows. “The route isn’t through Saltaire but nonetheless we have a bike window, bikes outside, bunting and posters that play on the theme of books and bikes,” he said.
Tony Fothersgill from Ken Spellman Books in Micklegate, York, has a bike-themed installation in his shop window to mark the Tour de France, by local artist Belinda Noda, who uses a wheelchair. She said: “As a result of a spinal cord injury in 1984, I am now a wheelchair user and since then wheels have played a prevailing role in my life. What better way to celebrate 30 years of wheel power than returning to Micklegate to celebrate the Tour de France, which shines the spotlight on my favourite form of transportation and the city I love.”
David Granville of Books on the Park in Sheffield said the sporting event was a good opportunity to sell related products such as mugs and bookmarks. “The Tour de France is an excellent conversation point with customers and anything like this, which encourages book sales, is a good thing. Not many understand the sport of cycling, it is quite complicated, so that has encouraged sales because people want to read up on it.” He added: “On the down side there will be road closures which might deter people from shopping, but you can’t please everybody.”
Meanwhile, a team from Jaffe and Neale bookshop have driven for four hours from Chipping Norton to set up shop at the Rapha Tempest Festival in Skipton, which is dedicated to celebrating cycling with a "weekend of riding,feasting music amd film". Owner Patrick Neale said: "We have a tent full of cycling books (see below pic) and are holding a few events with Yellow Jersey authors."
By far the biggest selling cycling title in the last week was Chris Froome’s autobiography The Climb (Vintage) which shifted just over 1,000 copies in the week to 1st July, while the second biggest seller was Head of Zeus’s Legends of The Tour by Jan Cleijne, which sold 456 copies last week through Neilsen BookScan. Ned Boulting’s On The Road Bike: The Search for a Nation’s Cycling Soul (Yellow Jersey Press), sold 208 copies, while David Walsh’s Inside Team Sky (Simon & Schuster) came in fourth spot for cycling books, shifting 186 units.
Grove Bookshop, Ilkley
Jaffe and Neale tent at Rapha Tempest Festival in Skipton
The Corsham Bookshop's window display