20130109

The Wiggins effect - Bradley's the new Beckham as My Time flies off the shelves


Tour de France winner, Olympic time-trial champion, BBC Sports Personality of the Year -- not to mention the small matter of a knighthood -- Bradley Wiggins swept all before him in 2012.

It might not come as a major surprise, therefore, that the Wiggins autobiography, My Time, blew the opposition completely off the track in book sales for 2012.

Published by Random House under the Yellow Jersey imprint, My Time did not appear in the bookstores until November 8 yet end-of-year sales figures compiled by Nielsen BookScan were almost 230,000, most of those rung up in the six weeks or so leading up to Christmas.

To put that number in perspective, My Time's sales accounted for almost a quarter of sales for the whole sports autobiography sector in 2012.  Indeed, if the resurgence in sales enjoyed by the earlier Wiggins life story, In Pursuit of Glory, is taken into account, Britain's all-time greatest cyclist cornered more than a quarter of that market.

According to Nielsen, only five sports autobiographies have sold more copies all told than My Time since they began collating statistics from book retailers in 1988.  That list is headed with more than half a million copies sold by the David Beckham autobiography My Side, which stormed the Christmas market in 2003.

My Side is the only title to have passed the 200,000 mark faster than My Time, which is another indication of the impact Wiggins has made with the British public.

Some critics have argued that My Time lacks depth and emotion compared with In Pursuit of Glory but speed of production was always going to be a critical issue as publishers sought to ride the Olympic wave and William Fotheringham, the cycling journalist and author who helped Wiggins turn his reflections into words on a page, should be applauded for meeting what must have been a daunting deadline.

The same can be said of Rick Broadbent, the athletics writer entrusted with ghosting the Jessica Ennis autobiography, which also took advantage of the book-buying public's appetite for reliving the highs of London 2012.

Unbelievable, released by Hodder and Stoughton on the same day as the Wiggins memoir and Seb Coe's autobiograpphy, also from Hodder, overtook Tom Daley's My Story as the second most popular sports biography but the golden girl of the heptathlon still did not come close to Wiggins, with almost four copies of My Time sold for every one of the Ennis tale.

Coe's book, Running My Life, nudged ahead of William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner The Secret Race as the fourth biggest seller of 2012 in the biography section.  Indeed, with In Pursuit of Glory's figures placing it 10th on the list and Victoria Pendleton's Between the Lines in seventh, six of the top 10 had an Olympic theme.

My Time: An Autobiography, by Bradley Wiggins
Unbelievable: From My Childhood Dreams to Winning Olympic Gold, by Jessica Ennis
My Story, by Tom Daley
Running My Life - The Autobiography, by Seb Coe
The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs, by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
Between the Lines: My Autobiography, by Victoria Pendleton
In Pursuit of Glory: The Autobiography, by Bradley Wiggins

Click on the links for more information or to buy.

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