Blair memoirs ‘huge’ potential, says trade
04.03.10 | Benedicte Page

The trade has welcomed the arrival of Tony Blair’s memoirs this autumn, with booksellers predicting big sales for the former Prime Minister even among those “who hate Blair”.

Blair’s memoirs will be published by Hutchinson in September. The book will be titled Tony Blair: The Journey priced at £25. A simultaneous ebook and audio version, read by the author, will also be published.

Waterstone’s politics buyer Andrew Lake said: “As a hugely controversial Prime Minister and major world figure there will be massive interest in Tony Blair’s memoirs, a book that people have been anticipating since the moment he left office.”

Jonathan Ruppin of Foyle’s said he expected it to be “huge”. “I haven’t come across any non-fiction coming out in the run-up to Christmas this year with that level of sales potential,” he said. But he added: “An awful lot of people do think Blair has a lot to explain [on Iraq]. It’s interesting that Random House are claiming it is very candid, because if he does gloss over anything, he will be taken up on it.”

Right-wing political blogger Iain Dale, a former bookseller and now a political publisher, said: “It will clearly do well. Generally books by ex-prime ministers do fairly well – Thatcher’s did, John Major’s was a surprise bestseller – and even people who hate Blair will buy it.”

Dale predicted the crucial element in the book’s success would not be its treatment of Iraq, but the more “gossippy” element, including Blair’s relationship with Brown. “Bringing this book out in September indicates he thinks Brown won’t be prime minister then so he can say what he likes,” Dale added.

However a spokesperson from Tony Blair’s office denied that the publication of the memoirs had any relationship to the election or to current prime minister Gordon Brown’s position. “By the time the memoir comes out in September it will be nearly three and a half years since Blair stood down as prime minister. It just makes sense [to publish], that’s all there is to it,” he said.

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