Articles keep appearing in the press claiming that the fashion for celebrity books is now over, just as the fashion for “misery memoirs” was reported to be over a year or two ago. In fact, celebrity books make up virtually the whole of the Top Twenty Non-Fiction Bestsellers.
While I can see that the current crop of titles are not achieving the same enormous sales figures as some of their predecessors, (perhaps because they are not such interesting or commercial stories), it seems from looking at the bestseller charts in The Bookseller this week that the celebrities are still totally dominating the non-fiction hardback charts and the “miseries” are still showing strongly amongst the paperbacks.
In the top ten non-fiction hardbacks we find Ant and Dec, Peter Kay, Jeremy Clarkson, Frankie Boyle and Patrick Swayze, plus another Top Gear book and titles from Andrew Marr and Delia Smith, both of whom can link their success partially to their television presences. That leaves only two other books, one of which is the Guinness Book of Records, the other is Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” book of amazing facts.
Amongst the next ten top bestsellers we find JLS, Chris Evans, Jo Brand, Katie Price, Jamie Oliver, Ozzy Osbourne, Jack Dee, another Top Gear book and a Football Annual. That leaves one more place for “Simon’s Cat” a cartoon book which started life on the Internet.
On what planet can this be described as “the end of the celebrity book genre”?
I could make a similar case for misery memoirs amongst the paperbacks, (some of which double up as celebrity books by the likes of Jade Goody and Coleen Nolan).