Americans have “Black Friday,” the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is the start of the Christmas shopping fiasco season, and which can, on occasion, lead to actual loss of life. It’s hard to imagine book buyers trampling store employees to death to get their hands on the new Audrey Niffenegger title, but British retailers are boning up for what they’re calling “Super Thursday” this Oct. 1, when a staggering 800 titles will publish in advance of the Christmas selling season.
With the months between October and December accounting for anywhere from 30% to 40% of annual sales, publishers obviously have a lot invested in the books that will drop this week. But one wonders how anyone hopes to break out of the pack with so many titles appearing on store shelves simultaneously. From the Guardian:
“It’s nice to have a day that feels quite special, because it is a rare title that is truly big enough to be a publishing event in itself,” says Julia Kingsford, head of marketing at bookseller Foyles. “But the inevitablility, with 800 books coming out on this one day, is that there will be things that are missed. There are an awful lot of books published, and not everything can be number one.”
Of course, British publishers can breathe (somewhat) easier knowing that the behemoth blockbuster of the fall, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, has already dropped, so they’ll only have the ripple effects of its publication to deal with. Still, with new books from Terry Pratchett, Kate Mosse, Ozzy Osborne, and Stieg Larsson among those set to appear on Thursday, it’s a tight field.
Meanwhile, publishers in both the U.S. and Britain are gearing up for that other fall ritual: the Frankfurt Book Fair. Publisher’s Weekly gives a rundown of some of the big titles that reps will be taking with them to the annual fair, and it’s another cornucopia of big names and potential blockbusters. Some highlights:
- Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis’s sequel to Less than Zero
- 1Q84, Haruki Murakami’s doorstopper of a novel
- The Living Dead, zombie maestro George A. Romero’s first novel
- Stones into Schools, Greg Mortenson’s follow-up to the best-selling Three Cups of Tea
- Insatiable, a modern-day sequel to Dracula by chick-lit mainstay Meg Cabot
- Horns, by best-selling Stephen King progeny Joe Hill
- The Memory, an adult novel from “Sisterpants” author Ann Brashares
- Committed, the new book from Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame
- The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, a typically uncontroversial novel from Philip Pullman
- Revenge, the fiction debut from Sharon Osbourne (what’s good for the goose…)