Christmas shopping season is in full swing, and the ghastly phenomenon that is Black Friday is looming over us for what seems like weeks, rather than one day. The big day of the festive season in the publishing world is known as Super Thursday, where the big Christmas book offerings are all released at once, usually in October. This year the date was Thursday 20th October.
I like the fact that this Christmas rush seems to prove the fact that a love of books is still alive and well – a physical book, particularly in hardback, is seen as a worthy gift for a loved one, and publishers know this. Sales of physical books normally shoot up between October-December. However, the majority of the “big” titles released on Super Thursday for the Christmas market always seem to be a mix of celebrity autobiographies/biographies and celebrity cookbooks. Fiction often takes a back seat. This is frustrating, not least because it means that when it comes to the end of year bestseller list, these titles released just before Christmas tend to dominate the top ten. And it also seems a shame that fiction is ignored, because curling up with a good book on a cold winters day and being transported to another place (where there are no celebrities or kitchen equipment) is one of my favourite things about the Christmas break.
So it would seem that the best sellers of 2016 will be dominated by the exploits of Phil Collins, the dishes of Jamie Oliver, and the Danish concept of Hygge, which as far as I can gather means putting a blanket over your legs if you’re cold. As you might have guessed by my earlier comment of curling up with a book on a cold winters day, I am already a pro at this, so I don’t think I need buy a book about it. A quick google of “Super Thursday fiction releases” has unfortunately left me non the wiser about which big titles might be released in the Christmas period, except for a couple of names mentioned in this Guardian article (Martina Cole, Ali Smith and Patricia Cornwell).
While I agree that a book makes a good gift (or, you might say, the best gift), I often wonder how many sad celebrity biographies are destined to gather dust on the shelf, never to be read. However I do also understand the pleasure of simply owning a book. Perhaps you might never read it, but so what? Books are a thing to cherish, no matter what.
“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.”
John Howells, former PR Manager at Waterstones.