A feast for booklovers

Normal, Weekender

Book publishers in London are desperate to sell as many of their new titles as possible in the lead up to Christmas, writes BELINDA TASKER

LONDON,  It was dubbed Super Thursday but, unlike the name suggests, it had nothing to do with elections.
Instead, the first day of October this year was reserved for booklovers in England as an eye-watering 2,500 new books, including about 800 hardbacks, were published.
Why was it that so many books – three times the usual number – were released all at once?
The answer is simple. Christmas.
Book publishers are desperate to sell as many of their new titles as possible in the lead up to the all-important festive season.
Word of mouth, as well as good reviews from critics, obviously helps.
But what they really count on is if a particular title begins to sell well, stores will give it more publicity and more shelf space.
As a result, a popular book becomes even more popular.
The ultimate goal is to be the publisher with the “Christmas No 1” on the best-seller list.
Shopping for books in London is a fabulous experience.
Some stores are huge like Waterstone’s flagship shop on Piccadilly.
It’s a bookworm’s heaven. Spread over eight floors in what was once London’s famous Simpson’s department store, it has become Europe’s largest bookshop.
Up the road is the more traditional Hatchards, which feels like it hasn’t changed its look much since it opened in the late 1700s but offers a great selection of signed editions.
The iconic Foyles store in Soho, which was opened in 1906 by two brothers selling their textbooks, is also a popular choice for harder to find titles and even has its own jazz cafe.
No matter which of the hundreds of bookstores you go into across London you are guaranteed to find a bargain, with hefty discounts on new and old titles as well as three-for-two deals.
Many new titles released on Super Thursday were discounted immediately, some to less than half price, in an attempt to kickstart the race towards the Christmas bestseller list.
Fiction titles from Audrey Niffenegger (author of The Time Traveler’s Wife) and Stieg Larsson (The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest) are expected to sell especially well along with an array of celebrity tomes.
But the bookies’ tip for the number one spot this year is Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code sequel The Lost Symbol.
It wasn’t among the 2,000 titles released on Super Thursday, having been snuck out a few weeks earlier in September.
Maybe it was a wise move. More copies of the book were sold in the first 36 hours of its release than any other previous adult hardback novel in the UK.
While Brown isn’t my cup of tea, I’ll be doing my bit to boost book sales in London. Once I decide what exactly to buy. – AAP