Poor sales of autobiographies putting major publishers off expensive big-name titles

Poor sales of autobiographies putting major publishers off expensive big-name titles

Celebrity memoirs are no longer popular as the genre has already 'peaked', according to one of Britain's leading publishers. Charlie Redmayne, UK chief executive of HarperCollins, has slashed the number of books written by the rich and famous that his company buys up.

He claims their profits are now 'hit and miss' - and says even those expected to do well, written by some of the country's biggest names, are failing to match expectations.

A lot of books were bought last year for large amounts of money which just didn't do the numbers at all. He declined to identify which stars he had in mind.

Certain celebrities have enjoyed huge success - with Alex Ferguson's tell-all book notching up nearly 700,000 sales so far this year. Other hits have been Roy Keane's The Second Half, selling 149,000 copies, and Lynda Bellingham: There's Something I've Been Dying To Tell You, selling 265,000 copies.

But for every successful book there are many more flops and Mr Redmayne says he feels it's now time to pull back. Speaking to The Times, he added: 'We want a broad swathe of publishing, but historically, HarperCollins, and indeed a lot of other publishers, had been making some very, very big bets on big celebrity autobiographies.

'That celebrity non-fiction market, in my opinion, has peaked. It's still there, there's still a market for it, but it is coming down.

'I think the prices - the advance that we pay the authors - needs to reflect that.' Last year Pippa Middleton was dropped by Penguin after her party planning book Celebrate sold only 2,000 copies in the first week.

 

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