Tuesday, 30 October 2007

If It's Half Term It Must Be Christmas

To Waterstone’s Piccadilly, for a recce of what books are looking good for this Christmas, and what might ideas might be ripe for next. No, I’m not feeling particularly festive either, but the décor is up and the big guns are out: Gordon Ramsey is in the foyer, signing copies and saying ‘fuck’ a lot. Meanwhile, as a publisher, one cannot both be amazed and slightly deflated at the sheer volume of titles fighting for attention. Take the humour selection. There are two huge tables full to bursting, with further books stacked on the floor by the side, three display units of more titles and a further acre of shelves, with even more offerings.

It’s a bewildering choice: how does a punter make a decision about what to buy? How does any book break out of such saturation? What’s more, one can’t but help notice how few new ideas there are on display. The bestsellers of previous years are voluminous in being parodied to death – I count three spoof Miscellanies, four Timewaster Letters take-offs, even a couple of cod Is It Just Me or Is Everything Shits – mockingly suggesting everything is, in fact, great. The few books that are based on original ideas – including our own verily brilliant The Internet Now In Handy Book Form! – stick out like sore thumbs. One can only hope they buck what is otherwise a somewhat depressing picture.

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