YouTube stars the Sidemen are frontrunners in race for Christmas books No 1

Figures show that game-playing vloggers’ print debut sold more than 26,000 copies in its first three days on sale last week

A week after the starting gun was fired on the race to the top of the Christmas book charts, YouTube superstars the Sidemen have emerged in front of the likes of Jamie Oliver and Guy Martin in the battle for the No 1 spot.

Last week saw 219 new books published on what the Bookseller magazine has christened “Super Thursday”, the day on which a small avalanche of books expected to be Christmas hits are published. Bookshops tipped titles including Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, Alan Bennett’s diaries Keeping On Keeping On and Alan Partridge’s Nomad for the top spot – but this week at least, The Sidemen are out in front.

The gamers, who have a total of 33.6 million YouTube subscribers between them, sold 26,436 copies of Sidemen: The Book in the three days after it was published, according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan, giving it the No 1 slot in the hardback nonfiction charts.

The book’s publicity pitch promises: “There’s nowhere to hide as the guys go in hard on their living habits, their football ability, and their dodgy clobber, while also talking Fifa, Vegas and superheroes. They’ll also give you their grand house tour, letting you in on a few secrets, before showing you their hall of fame, as well as revealing some of their greatest shames.”

By contrast, Oliver’s Christmas cookbook sold 8,384 copies over the same period, in fifth place behind Martin’s fourth-placed Worms to Catch, which had sales of 8,651 copies. Guinness World Records and Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, both published in September, were in second and third place respectively.

Strong sales were also seen last week for Ladybird’s host of Super Thursday titles, a parody of its children’s books from the 60s and 70s which include How It Works: The Cat and How It Works: The Grandparent, while Phil Collins’s memoir Not Dead Yet took eighth place in the hardback nonfiction charts with sales of almost 8,000 copies.

The YouTubers will be facing stiff competition if they are to hang on to their top spot until Christmas, however: the Bookseller points out that “the festive season is a marathon, not a sprint”, and although last year’s Super Thursday No 1 was also a book by YouTube stars, Dan & Phil’s The Amazing Book is Not on Fire, Bill Bryson’s travelogue The Road to Little Dribbling emerged as the overall bestselling Super Thursday release, with the Christmas No 1 spot eventually taken by Ladybird’s parody guide to the husband. “Veteran chart-hanger (and five-time Christmas No 1) Jamie may just be biding his time,” predicted the magazine.

And the gamers will also be contending with another YouTube star for the top spot - Zoella, aka Zoe Sugg, who publishes the third instalment in her bestselling novel series, Girl Online: Going Solo, in November. Sugg, a fashion and beauty vlogger, saw her debut novel Girl Online become the fastest selling debut novel ever in 2014, racking up sales of more than 78,000 copies in a week but drawing controversy over its lack of acknowledgment of its ghostwriter. Sugg subsequently said that she would write its sequel alone.


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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