29.09.11 Graeme Neill
Super Thursday has begun with a welter of press coverage about one of the busiest days in the publishing calendar.
Today, 225 hardbacks hit shops including titles by Jamie Oliver, Alan Partridge, James Corden and Robert Harris.
In a piece in the Times, the paper notes the plentiful supply of memoirs by comedians but also notes "less predictably a strong showing for more erudite books". It highlights forthcoming titles including Claire Tomalin's biography of Charles Dickens, Jeremy Paxman's Empire and Carol Ann Duffy's The Bees. The Telegraph's tips for Christmas include Lee Child's The Affair and Robert Harris' The Fear Index as well as May I Have Your Attention Please? by James Corden and Joanna Lumley's Absolutely: A Memoir.
BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme and BBC Breakfast News ran pieces on Super Thursday. Yesterday's Independent quoted HarperCollins editorial director for non-fiction Anna Valentine who said: "I think this year will shape up very well against last year, one of the most high-profile years in recent memory, because there are some very big hitters."
Century publishing director Ben Dunn said: "Now more than ever, selling non-fiction outside the Christmas window is becoming impossible."
In a second piece in the Telegraph, Jon Howells, spokesman for Waterstone’s, said that its sales force has been working with publishers on the Christmas campaign since March. "Super Thursday is really the first time the outside world sees what we’ve been up to all these months. It is like a starter pistol for the campaign, only this year it is more of a relay race, since there are quite a few big books being published over the next few months.”
Speaking to the Daily Mail, a Waterstone's spokesperson said Jamie Oliver was the one to watch this Christmas, after his record-breaking success last year. He said: "I don’t think there is anyone else that can touch him."
Among the serialisations running this week are Paul Scholes' memoir (Simon & Schuster) and Lee Evans' autobiography (Michael Joseph), both in the Sun.