too many books before the Olympics? How publishers stand out

too many books before the Olympics? How publishers stand out
too many books before the Olympics? How publishers stand out

Although they have not yet started on the pitch, the Olympic Games are already being played out in bookstores. On the shelves, the offer of sports books has rarely been so substantial.

Éditions Solar, specialized in sports publications and sole publisher of the works of the newspaper L’Équipe, have for example already published five books on the subject, in order to “scan the broadest possible spectrum”, according to Jean-Philippe Bouchard, director …

Although they have not yet started on the pitch, the Olympic Games are already being played out in bookstores. On the shelves, the offer of sports books has rarely been so substantial.

Éditions Solar, specialized in sports publications and sole publisher of the works of the newspaper L’Équipe, have for example already published five books on the subject, in order to “scan the broadest possible spectrum”, according to Jean-Philippe Bouchard, director editorial. Between the presentation work or those with historical and unusual angles, the choice is not lacking. “It’s our business. We cannot ignore this event, no one would have understood that we are missing out,” explains Jean-Philippe Bouchard. The publishing house has chosen to anticipate the event, for example by publishing “100 years of Games, 1924-2024” from November 2023. Sold in more than 25,000 copies and reprinted twice, the work met with success.

Feminism and the Olympics, a popular marriage

This is unfortunately not the case for all the other books focused on the Olympics. In 2020 Éditions Mareuil published “Olympic Memories”, written by journalist Daniel Pautrat. The book sells little, in particular because of the Covid pandemic. This year, the challenge is the same, but the customer has a wider choice, particularly because many more general brands have positioned themselves in this Olympic niche. Publishers must therefore find a way to stand out.

Éditions Mareuil made the rather sober choice to rely on their own catalog collection. Thus, “Olympic Memory” was republished and the work “History(s) of the Olympic Games” written by Richard Wawrzyniak, initially published on the sidelines of the last Tokyo Games, was updated and reissued. “We chose to trust the quality books that we already had and not to publish for the sake of publishing,” explains Louis de Mareuil. We received many proposals for other works, but we were not satisfied and felt we were getting closer to similar treatments of other books. »

Alongside the first equal Games in history, there are, for example, numerous works with feminist angles. Éditions Solar also made “this militant choice” with “Merci Alice”, produced alongside the Alice Milliat Association. The work brings together portraits of 80 French Olympic and Paralympic champions, each written by a different female sports journalist. “There is a strong editorial desire to honor these champions and to write a very inclusive book, in its themes, its writing, its illustrations, by finding original angles for each portrait and not remaining on what has already been said,” explains Mejdaline Mhiri, editorial coordinator of the book and co-founder of the Women Sports Journalists association. “There is also a desire to stand out in the way we produce the work, by leaving the pen to female sports journalists. It’s a way of paying tribute to them,” adds Mejdaline Mhiri.

Results dependent

Sophie Danger is also interested in Alice Milliat, activist for the recognition of women’s sport at the beginning of the 20th century.e century, in the work “Alice Milliat, The Olympic Woman” published by Éditions Les Pérégrines. “The multiplication of subjects is not a hindrance” for Mejdaline Mhiri. Nor for publishers, who are hoping for an expansion in sales of sports books during the Games. “The Olympics are often a delicate market, it is difficult to force someone to read about sports that they are less familiar with,” explains Jean-Philippe Bouchard. 100 years after the last Summer Games in France, the elements of comparison are non-existent. “The fact that it is in France will perhaps change the situation, otherwise we will have to spread the number of sales over more books,” imagines the editorial director of Éditions Solar.

“Sales will also depend on the results of the French this summer. We will remain attentive in order to adapt according to the performances and the enthusiasm that the competition will create,” specifies Louis de Mareuil, who does not rule out the publication of another work after the Games. A post-Olympic book is already planned by Solar, which is therefore counting on the success of French athletes as the ultimate selling point.

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