Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 15:07 UK

Publishers set for Christmas rush

Nigella Lawson
Repeats of Nigella's Christmas series will be shown on BBC Four

Nearly 800 book titles are set to be published on Thursday, as authors gear up for the Christmas rush.

A host of celebrity biographies and cookbooks, including Dawn French's Dear Fatty and Nigella Lawson's Christmas, hit the shelves on 'Super Thursday'.

"It's a bit mad," author Andrew Roberts told BBC Breakfast news. "But Christmas is Christmas. If you get in that slot, you can sell a lot of copies."

Three times the average number of books published daily come out on Thursday.

New titles include actress Julie Walter's autobiography, That's Another Story, rugby star Jonny Wilkinson's Tackling Life and Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food.

"It's great," Michael Jones, of Borders Books told BBC Breakfast, citing "anything that gets people reading".

"People have really diverse taste in books, it's really good to have a lot of choice out there for everybody."

'Fascinating'

Book sales tend to peak at Christmas, but celebrity sales - with their incumbent marketing power - often have an advantage of other publications.

Last year's Christmas number one was Russell Brand's My Booky Wook, while Peter Kay topped the list of Christmas publications in 2006.

"There is still a massive interest in good celebrity stories, and it's wrong to dismiss books like those this year from Michael Parkinson, Jonathan Ross, Paul O'Grady et al as just 'celebrity' books," a spokesman for booksellers Waterstones, told The Guardian newspaper.

"These are books by people who have gained millions of fans over decades, and do have fascinating stories to tell - there will always be a market for that sort of book."

The trick, according to Masters and Commanders author Andrew Roberts, is maintaining the momentum.

"People who buy books only buy an average of seven books a year, and a lot of those are for Christmas," said Mr Roberts.

"The key thing is to sell on after Christmas. "


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