Yes, I know its Friday. I wanted to write this post yesterday, but the IT gremlins prevented me from doing so. However this problem did result in me having time to come across another story related to Super Thursday, which is both funny and illustrative of the power of the phenomenon that is the day in October that sees the publication of dozens of books in preparation for the Christmas buying frenzy.
The titles, as usual, are dominated by celebrity offerings, with autobiographies from Jennifer Saunders, David Jason and James Corden, as well as sports stars like Mo Farrah, and of course, the obligatory cook books from celebrity chefs. More such titles are to come next week.
Fiction, to me, seems to take a backseat at this time of year, though there are some big releases in October, including Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones sequel, Mad About the Boy. As John Howells of Waterstones is quoted in this Guardian article, “Super Thursday was a real thing four or five years ago, when publishers brought out everything at once, but frankly it got a bit ridiculous. Over the last couple of years things have got a lot more sensible, with big titles published over a six-week period. It’s better to think of it as a Super Thursday season.”
I’ve written before about this skewed dominance of the yearly books sales by celebrity autobiographies, and how by the end of the year such “authors” tend to dominate the best seller charts. But, then again, it shows that the popularity of the book is alive and well, with sales usually shooting up between October and 24th December. And Howells doesn’t seem to think that the short lived popularity of such titles has any kind of lasting effect:
“After you get away from the film stars, the sports stars and the rock stars, you’ll find literature – great fiction, great non-fiction – still on the shelves. These are the books that will last.”
I’m definitely looking forward to reading Doctor Sleep and Mad About the Boy, though it has received mixed reviews so far, and I don’t know what I think about the catalyst that drives Bridget back into the dating scene (most people will probably already know what that is but I for one was quite shocked when I found out.) It seems many Bridget fans were most unhappy at such a major story line being revealed before the book was even published, via extracts in the Sunday Times magazine. But, none of this has put me off wanting to read it.
However, I was most amused by this other news story I came across yesterday while trying to get this post published – after an error at the printers, it seems that 40 pages of David Jason’s autobiography My Life mistakenly ended up being included in some of the early copies of Mad About the Boy. To me this highlights the rapid frenzy of this pre Christmas publishing rush – perhaps it becomes too easy to make such mistakes. But Bridget Jones dating Del Boy? Now that would be a plot twist even more shocking than the demise of Mr Darcy….