Football fever prompts book sales boon
16.06.10 | Philip Stone

World Cup fever has led to some big sales boosts for football books, Nielsen BookScan data has revealed.

Liverpool and Spain striker Fernando Torres’ picturesque memoir, El Niño (HarperSport), is currently the bestselling football memoir in the UK, with sales of 1,208 copies last week — up 7,450% on sales four weeks ago, due to the recent release of its mass-market edition. But many older titles have received significant sales increases.

Sales of Keir Radnedge’s FIFA World Cup Football Records 2010 (Carlton), published in September 2009, have jumped by 815% in four weeks, from just 47 copies sold during the week ending 22nd May to 431 copies sold last week (to 12th June).

Over the same time frame, sales of Parragon’s World Cup 2010 Superstars jumped 295%, while sales of Terry Crouch’s The World Cup: The Complete History (Aurum) and ex-BBC sports editor Mihir Bose’s World Cup: All You Need to Know (Endeavour) increased by 160% and 120% respectively. The bestselling World Cup book however remains the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Official Book (Carlton), which sold 2,986 copies last week—down 6.5% week on week, but up 55% on its sales four weeks ago.

Bestselling memoirs of yesteryear have been climbing the charts. Sales of Sir Bobby Charlton’s 2008-published My England Years (Headline) have jumped 115% over the past four weeks, while sales of the memoirs of Liverpool and England stars Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have also been on the up. The former’s My Autobiography (Bantam) sold 168 copies last week, up from 101 four weeks ago, while sales of the latter’s Carra (Corgi), have jumped 30% in recent weeks.

Even football stars not at the World Cup have received a boost. Manchester United’s Welsh superstar Ryan Giggs’ memoir, Giggs: The Autobiography (Penguin), has enjoyed a 45% boon over the same four-week time frame, for example.

Meanwhile, thanks to a deep-discount campaign at W H Smith stores, sales of John Blake’s World Cup Heroes series of short biographies dramatically increased last week. Adam Cottier’s biography of Steven Gerrard proved the most popular with sales of 915 copies (up from just 68 copies four weeks ago), while Ian Cruise’s biography of Fernando Torres and Sue Evison on Wayne Rooney also both sold more than 500 copies last week.

But if England centre-back Rio Ferdinand’s World Cup-ending knee injury wasn’t enough, his biography (by prolific celebrity biographer and true crime expert Wensley Clarkson), has proven the least popular with the public with sales of just 203 copies last week.

In the children’s market, Bronagh Woods’ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Activity Book is the current football favourite, with sales of 2,116 copies last week — 1,378 more than Carlton Books stablemate Gavin Newsham’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Fact File.

Meanwhile, sales of South Africa travel guides in the UK have also been on the up. James Bainbridge’s Lonely Planet: South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland was the bestseller last week with sales of 115 copies—up 35% over four weeks. The Rough Guide to South Africa sold 110 copies last week (up 40%), while sales of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to South Africa have more than doubled over the four weeks, from 53 copies sold to 107 last week.

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