Some comparative figures

According to Saturday’s Times, Starbucks is set to start selling books, or rather a book, in the UK from next month. The first title is A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah’s memoir of life as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. In the USA, Starbucks quickly sold 62,ooo copies of this book. (Two-thirds of its total sales, apparently.)

Last week , number one in the "top 50 bestsellers" list is Jeb Rubenfeld’s The Interpretation of Murder, which sold 34,160 in the UK. By the time we reach number ten, This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Holmes, we are down to 13,383  sales in a week; number 20, West End Girls by Jenny Colgan sold 10, 342.  Beah’s book is not "mass market" in the sense of a typical bestseller: without the Starbucks (or Richard and Judy) factor I venture it would not feature on this list, so that’s a plus for it and for Starbucks.

Who will follow Sharon Osbourne (2005) and Peter Kay (2006) as this year’s UK Christmas bestseller, asks the Times, again? Century thinks it will be Dawn French: it has paid about £2 million for her memoirs.  My £12.99 (or whatever) will not be helping to offset that sum. Grand Central Publishing (formerly Time Warner) has paid $1.25 million for a book about a cat named Dewey Readmore Books, which became famous after living at an Iowa library.  No doubt thinking of dog mega-hit Marley and Me, the publisher said "You can’t underestimate the market for people who love animals" .  I won’t be helping out financially with this title, either.