Bloomsbury confident Paul Hollywood's A Baker's Life will be a Christmas hit

Paul Hollywood's new book contains 100 recipes from his 30-year career as a baker. PHOTO: BLOOMSBURY
Paul Hollywood's new book contains 100 recipes from his 30-year career as a baker. PHOTO: BLOOMSBURY

LONDON • It does not take a smart cookie to figure out that Paul Hollywood's new book, A Baker's Life, is likely to be among the bestsellers this Christmas.

Certainly, Bloomsbury, the book's publisher, is confident of its prospects, thanks in part to the successful reinvention of The Great British Bake Off .

Hollywood's latest book hits the shelves on Thursday next week, two days after the finals of the first series of Channel 4's new-look Bake Off - the search for Britain's best amateur baker - airs.

"It will be huge, no doubt about it," said a confident Mr Nigel Newton, the chief executive of Bloomsbury, which is also the publisher of Harry Potter .

"Cookery books, both from the brilliant Paul Hollywood and other major chefs, have been a major strength of the industry over the last decade," he added.

Bloomsbury will be hoping to get a sales boost from the finals of The Great British Bake Off, which Channel 4 poached from the BBC in a £75million (S$134.5-million), threeyear deal, as well as a spin-off show starring Hollywood.

The new four-part show, also called A Baker's Life, is set to air next month - perfect timing to promote the book in the run-up to Christmas.


Celebrity baker Hollywood was offered the show as part of an estimated £1.5-million, three-year deal to keep him with the Bake Off franchise.

He was the only one of the BBC's original line-up - completed by fellow judge Mary Berry and co-hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc - to make the move to Channel 4.

Mr Newton cited cookery publishing as one of Bloomsbury's "great strengths".

This year's hits include Tom Kerridge's Lose Weight For Good and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Much More Veg.

Hollywood's £25-a-pop Bloomsbury book How To Bake, published in 2012, has shifted more than 200,000 copies, according to Nielsen Book Research.

But his newer releases have seen diminishing returns.

His most recent one, The Weekend Baker, published by Michael Joseph last year, was a bit of a soggy bottom, with sales of only 11,000.

However, Hollywood remains a star baker in the publishing stakes, having sold almost 700,000 books worth more than £7 million in the last five years, according to Nielsen.

Bloomsbury reported strong firsthalf trading, with revenues climbing 15 per cent to £72 million in the six months to end-August as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise shows no signs of slowing down, 20 years after the first book, The Philosopher's Stone, was published.

The franchise saw a 40 per cent sales revenue surge in the first half, driving a 33 per cent expansion in revenues in its children's publishing arm as special editions and spinoffs continue to prove popular.

The publisher is also benefiting from George Saunders' Man Booker prize win for Lincoln In The Bardo, with Mr Newton saying that it has seen a "tremendous boost in sales" since the award was announced on Tuesday last week.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Bloomsbury confident of Hollywood hit'. Print Edition | Subscribe