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Christmas hit … Jamie Oliver’s new book is tipped to be a festive best seller.DON’T expect to find Fifty Shades of Grey in your Christmas stockings this year.
Nanjing Night Net

E.L. James’s S&M page-turner might be the fastest selling book in history, but booksellers ranging from Big W and Dymocks to specialist inner-city stores are not tipping it to be a popular Christmas gift.

”I think the two biggest sellers will be the new Jamie Oliver, 15-Minute Meals, which looks amazing, and the next instalment in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series,” said Jon Page from Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman.

He said Herald columnist Peter FitzSimons’s Eureka would also be a likely stocking filler.

All three books are also nominated by discount retailer Big W and chain store Dymocks as the most popular reads, suggesting book buyers have similar tastes regardless of where they shop.

”But like in every year the non-fiction number one will almost certainly be the perennial favourite Guinness World Records,” said Big W’s media relations manager, Benedict Brook.

Next week heralds super Thursday, when British publishers release the books most likely to attract Christmas shoppers, although J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals were both released early to the consternation of competitors.

Australian publishers said October and November are the key months for book releases in Australia, with the majority of book sales occurring during the Christmas period.

Mr Brook said the three months leading up to Christmas accounted for about 35 per cent of Big W’s annual book sales.

Dymocks sells a similar percentage of books at Christmas, said the managing director, Steve Cox, or close to 3.4 million books.

Text Publishing’s Emily Booth agreed it was a critical time for all publishers.

”Summer holidays are when we often get a chance to relax with a book, so it’s a time that we buy books for ourselves, as well as for others,” she said.

But festive season book sales were not a cure for the ills of the publishing industry, which has been buffeted by difficult retail conditions.

”It will no more save book publishing than it will save manufacturers of underwear and socks,” Ms Booth said.

But technological change may not be as great a worry.

The chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association, Joel Becker, said e-books were growing in market share but still represented less than 10 per cent of the Australian market, a lower figure than in Britain or the US.

Mr Page said the biggest threat to the local booksellers came from imports that were cheaper because of the high Australian dollar and to which GST did not apply.

LITERARY ASHES

This year’s most popular Christmas buys are likely to be a literary Ashes with Australian authors pitted against their British counterparts, according to Big W’s Benedict Brook.

Cookbooks

Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver and Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light

Fiction

Bryce Courtenay’s Jack of Diamonds and J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy

Non-fiction

Guinness World Records, Peter FitzSimons’s Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution and Chris Masters’s Uncommon Soldier

Children’s

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney

Dark horse

Wool by Hugh Howey, originally a self-published e-book. ”I won’t be surprised if it becomes a huge hit,” said Jon Page, from Pages & Pages Booksellers.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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