Kay's 'disappointing' book sales

Shops brand it a 'turkey'

Peter Kay’s latest memoirs have proved a big disappointment to booksellers.

Saturday Night Peter, which chronicles his years on the stand-up circuit, has been named as a ‘turkey’ by trade magazine The Bookseller in terms of sales.

It had been expected to be a huge seller, as his previous book The Sound Of Laugher sold more than a million copies. But although it’s still at No 4 in the Sunday Times hardback non-fiction chart, the book has only sold 154,000 copies to date.

The figures come despite some heavy cost-cutting when the book was launched in October when it was being sold for as little as £5 including p&p – 75 per cent less than its £10 cover price.

Booksellers say celebrity memoirs had largely been a disappointment this autumn, with Frankie Boyle’s My Shit Life So Far one of the few titles to exceed expectations.

One retailer told The Bookseller that at just 272 pages, Kay’s book was ‘laughable in terms of size’, while another said: ‘There was very little publicity and it was extremely thin.’

Jack Dee’s Thanks For Nothing and Dara O Briain’s Tickling The English were also named as having ‘disappointed the trade’.

Asda book buyer Steph Bateson said: ‘ People have maybe got some celebrity fatigue [but] the books have become more and more diluted. Unless there's a big new celebrity then I'm not sure what next Christmas will bring.’

But she said of Boyle’s autobiography, which has sold 107,000 copies: ‘People love him or hate him, but he was published into a niche where his fans were sure to buy the book.’

The biggest comedy signing for next Christmas is Michael McIntrye, whose first book is expected in the shops in late 2010.

Click here for our review of the Peter Kay book.

Published: 14 Dec 2009

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