is strong, with some brilliant new titles out. History in particular looks strong, with titles from Max Hastings, Neil MacGregor and Peter Frankopan leading the way.” Marie Moser, owner of The Edinburgh Bookshop, agreed. “There is a really good, broad offering this year,” she said. “In most areas you can pick out strong titles.” A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Our Christmas book offering recently launched in store, and we are starting to see strong sales come through. We expect Guinness World Records and David Walliams’ new book The Ice Monster, which launches in a few weeks, to top the book charts this Christmas.”

Copies sold of C J Sansom’s Tombland in its first three days on sale—enough to secure this week’s number one (see p16)

Ten for the top Selected popular Christmas picks

Sally Rooney

Normal People Faber Tipped by Waterstones, Blackwell’s, London Review Bookshop, Dulwich Books

Matt Haig

The Truth Pixie Canongate Tipped by Drake–The Bookshop, London Review Bookshop, Dulwich Books

Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Brigite Ricou-Bellan, director of books at Amazon UK, said: “We’ve seen growth across children’s and non-fiction books, in particular picture books like the Oi! series from Kes Grey and Jim Field, and biography and lifestle titles such as Mat Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet. As we move towards Christmas, we expect food and drink titles to pick up steam, with standouts like [the books from] Deliciously Ella and BOSH!, and [vloggers Catherine Allinson and Kay Featherstone’s] Pinch of Nom.”

No laughing matter

A couple of gaps in the market were identified. Nic Botomley, BA president and co-owner of Bath-based indie bookseller Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, said he didn’t “see a nature or travel writing title that is shouting out”, while Susie Nicklin, owner of south London-based Dulwich Books, felt the offering was missing a funny bone. “There aren’t enough humorous books out this year,” she said.

The owner of Notingham’s Five Leaves Bookshop, Ross Bradshaw, said this year’s Man Booker winner, Burns’ Milkman, was a welcome relief aſter last year’s tricky sell, George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo. “Milkman is selling much beter than most of the recent Booker winners,” he said. “I think people are interested in Anna Burns and the coverage there has been about her.” Many who spoke to The Bookseller said the current political and economic uncertainties 1.6% 0.1%

Year on year value growth posted by the TCM market last year after a late pre-Christmas spike

were encouraging people to seek solace in reading. Moser pondered: “Maybe people are thinking, ‘I’m so bored with Brexit, I’m just going to crack on’. Therefore, it doesn’t neces- sarily mean a boom for business but it may be absolutely fine.” Jo Coldwell, bookseller at Colchester’s Red Lion Books, said: “Books are more beautiful than ever and if anything, in these dark times people seek places of solace. We are a place to go in dark times.” Enders’ McCabe believes that promot- ing the experience of

In the year to 20th October, the value of the TCM is 1.6% ahead of 2017 at the same point

books and reading will be important to ensur- ing sales. He said: “I hope to see the big retail- ers doing some robust Christmas marketing to highlight the importance of books, the importance of reading, the value of browsing (the value of great bookshops), the pleasure of personal, thoughtful giſting, as well as the great titles on offer. If all the assumptions outlined above are to some degree right, then physical retailer marketing has a good chance of generating a good return on investment.” Blackwell’s was among the retailers emphasising the importance of hand-selling over the Christmas period. Drew said: “More than ever, we will be focusing on bookseller recommendations, both in shops and online. We also have recommended category favour- ites and not just the obvious choices. We will also be making more of our Books of the Year, which are voted for by our booksellers and announced in November.”

The Way Past Winter Chicken House Tipped by Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

Stephen Hawking

Brief Answers to the Big Questions John Murray Tipped by Amazon UK, Blackwell’s, Dulwich Books

Alex T Smith

How Winston Delivered Christmas... Macmillan Tipped by The Edinburgh Bookshop, Bookish

Sarah Perry

Melmoth Serpents Tail Tipped by Waterstones, Red Lion Books, Big Green Bookshop, London Review Bookshop

Max Hastings

Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945–1975 4th Estate Tipped by Blackwell’s, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

Michael Palin

Erebus Random House Tipped by Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, The Edinburgh Bookshop

David Walliams & Tony Ross

The Ice Monster Orion Tipped by Waterstones, Amazon UK, Sainsbury’s

Michelle Obama

Becoming Penguin Random House Tipped by Waterstones, Drake–The Bookshop

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