Cherie's Book Flops; PM's Wife May Lose out on Royalties as Her Sales Fail to Break 7,000

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON RAYNER

CHERIE Blair may not receive any book royalties after her much- heralded publishing debut The Goldfish Bowl: Married to the Prime Minister recorded disappointing sales.

The book by Tony Blair's wife has shifted only 6,800 copies, according to the latest figures.

Her publishers Chatto and Windus have to recoup a hefty advance - thought to be as much as [pounds sterling]50,000 - shared by Mrs Blair and her co-author Cate Haste before any royalties are paid out.

They may also have to pulp a large number of copies from an initial print run reported to be 100,000.

And unless sales of the book about prime ministers' spouses pick up significantly, plans for a paperback edition next year may also be scrapped.

Liz Thomson, editor of Publishing News, described the figures as 'very disappointing for Cherie Blair, disappointing for her agent and disappointing for her publisher'.

She said: 'It certainly hasn't been the bestseller the publishers hoped it would be, and it sounds as though they will end up with a lot of unsold copies.

'But it may be that the publishers overestimated the amount of interest. The subject matter doesn't really have mass appeal and looking at it objectively the sales are not that terrible for a book about prime ministers' wives.' She also pointed out that it was not unusual for authors to fail to 'earn out' their advance.

Richard Knight, managing director of Nielsen Bookscan, which compiles UK publishing statistics, said the sales of The Goldfish Bowl had to be seen in the right context. 'On the face of it the sales don't seem very high, but this book is classified as a history book, and it is the 12th bestselling history book in Britain at the moment. The sales have also picked up in the last couple of weeks so it's definitely a Christmas seller. …