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What is Super Thursday?

Posted on 7th October 2015 by Sally Campbell & Jason Lee
Bookseller Jason Lee helps us guide you through this super bookish event.

Super Thursday? What on earth is super Thursday? I hear you ask.
Well, with the help of Jason Lee, I will guide you through what Super Thursday is and what it means to us booksellers.

  1. The first rule about Super Thursday is:
    Don’t talk about Super Thursday…Just kidding, sorry, I couldn’t resist.
  2. Seriously, what is Super Thursday?
    Good question. It is the literary equivalent of Scrooge MacDuck’s swimming pool – there are enough books for you to swim in.  Put another way, it is the day on which more books are published than any other day of the year.
  3. Jason Lee describes Super Thursday from a bookseller’s point of view:  
    “[It is] that storied day in the publishing calendar where the festive spirit begins to simmer in the hearts of booklovers and booksellers everywhere. The eventful day heralds the frontrunners of the busy Christmas period.”
    Oh, how it warms our bookseller cockles! As you can see, it means a lot to us.
  4. Super Thursday time already?:
    “Having worked behind the front doors of the bookselling world for a few years now, it still surprises me just how quickly the seasons pass us by.”
    This is so true – and as with all retail jobs, bookselling involves celebrating each festival and season, and with gusto. We always know precisely what time of year it is.  So, perhaps a little more than most, we see how quickly the next season/festival/event comes along.
  5. Super Thursday marks the beginning of the C-word (Christmas) to us:
    “This year, it was as prematurely as August, as we unpackaged our first few dozen copies of Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food, that I allowed myself to begin thinking earnestly about Christmas.” Jason says.
    See? Christmas in August, ay? We booksellers are always ahead of the curve. Always festive-ready. It is a known fact that booksellers carry mince pies in their pockets as early as September (this is not true).
  6. But do we booksellers dread Super Thursday and the run-up to Christmas?
    No – we do not:
    “As such, it’s this time of year that I’ve grown to love and await with fervour, when the publishing industry is full of vitality and our bookshops really come alive.”
    Well said, Jason - we love it.
  7. So let’s get down to the Super Thursday details:
    “This year presents an extraordinary selection of titles, from the usual suspects to some rather unexpected voices. I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the appearance of Happy, a photographic picture book by R ‘n’ B superstar, Pharrell Williams. I kid you not that it’s the beginning of a four-book deal…”
    Worth pointing out here: we are always full of inside knowledge, us booksellers. Just ask. No query too large or small.
  8. What kind of titles should you expect to see on Super Thursday?
    No, I am not going list all 500 plus – never you fear. But here is a taster of the fiction aisles:
    Robert Harris, Bernard Cornwell, Peter James, and Martina Cole, Robert Galbraith – better known as J.K. Rowling, and George R. R. Martin – but no – calm down and take a breath – sadly, not the next part in the Songs of Ice and Fire series.
  9. Comedians take centre stage on Super Thursday:
    So expect the Biography sections of all Waterstones to look even more inviting than usual: Steve Coogan, Nick Frost, and the “lovably loud Brian Blessed” are among those releasing books.
  10. Food is on everybody’s mind – not least Nigella Lawson’s:
    “[Nigella] contributes to the year’s glowing trend of healthy-eating recipe books with Feel Good Food”, says Jason. Meanwhile, “Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is all about frugality in River Cottage Love Your Leftovers.”
    Yes, you may as well diet now – because – let’s face it, we all know what’s coming, and it’s really not that long now: that Christmas feeling of merry bloated-ness and pudding-guilt…
  11. Some of the best named books appear on Super Thursday:
     “Chris Evans, will delight readers with Call the Midlife, his third collection of memoirs. And not forgetting Sue Perkins’s Spectacles.” (Just in time, we notice, for the last episodes of The Great British Bake Off).
  12. Lastly, when has Bill Bryson timed his travel-writing comeback?
    Yup, that’s right - Super Thursday:
    “After fifteen (very long!) years, Bill Bryson makes a welcome return to travel writing – and the United Kingdom - with The Road to Little Dribbling. I confess that I seldom dip into non-fiction, but Bryson is my wholehearted exception; quite frankly, I’d read his shopping lists.”
    Couldn’t have put it better myself – all hail Bill Bryson.

Essentially, Super Thursday is the most exciting day in a bookseller’s calendar – it is our Christmas, really. So expect to see giddy booksellers gleefully unpacking boxes on Thursday (which is tomorrow, as I write!), all wide-eyed and over-excited from too much sugar.


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