Publishers get their fingers burned by Ashes books

From Charles Sale, Daily Mail
The collapse of the Ashes cricket book market will provide much ammunition for those supporting the return of England v Australia Tests to free-to-air television.

The paltry sales are such even England talisman Andrew Flintoff’s Ashes account has sold just 12,926 copies, with the latest figures pointing to England’s 2009 triumph failing to make any lasting impression on the public.

Michael Atherton’s book has attracted only 3,628 buyers; England captain Andrew Strauss’s version 3,435; the official team publication 2,173; and the newly-published Stuart Broad addition 107.

Other cricket books have fared equally badly, with the sales figures of Michael Vaughan’s autobiography standing at 3,286, Mark Ramprakash’s 1,790 and Matthew Hoggard’s 5,760.

This compares with the England team book from 2005 recording 110,000 sales and the Flintoff book from the same year bringing in 350,000.

Book sellers blame the flop on the series being shown live on subscription channel Sky rather than Channel 4, as it was four years ago. The David Davies report on televised sport’s “Crown Jewels” last week recommended Ashes cricket returning to terrestrial television after the current Sky contract ends in 2013.

Yet, despite the appalling sales, publishers Harper Collins have still paid an advance of more than £100,000 to Sky Sports’ highly popular cricket pundit and Sportsmail columnist David Lloyd for a two-book deal.

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