Tony Blair's memoirs have proven more popular with Irish readers than Bertie Ahern's autobiography, according to an analysis of first-week sales for both books. Blair's autobiography A Journey sold 2,774 copies in its first five days in the Irish shops, almost 200 more than the 2,593 sales secured by Bertie Ahern's memoir in its first week on sale. About 500 of those were sold in Eason's in O'Connell St last Saturday during a book signing by the former British prime minister.
Publishing industry analyst and editor of the Irish Publishing News Eoin Purcell said, "while it is hard to equate book sales with popularity, it is obvious that he has a better profile in Ireland than the majority of other political leaders, even our own. For example, even when George Bush's autobiography comes out in November I wouldn't anticipate sales that high.
"After the last week, we can now see that Blair does have a higher profile than our own previous political leaders. It was a surprise to see such a high turnover for him especially when people like Albert Reynolds and Ahern did not receive that much attention and did not garner anywhere near those kinds of sales," said Purcell.
Ahern's autobiography, in which he spoke of his devotion to politics and the end of his marriage, was released last October in hardback format, and had sold only 9,351 copies by the end of the year.
Purcell believes the ex-Taoiseach's autobiography was also timed badly in terms of sales.
"The publishers of Bertie Ahern's book probably expected it to do better than it did. But the atmosphere in the country had changed an awful lot by the time it had come out. Having said this, we are only still in the first week of sales for Blair so it could go anywhere from here."
Eason's managing director, Conor Whelan, said there had been unprecedented demand for Blair's book, in which he controversially details his relationship with Gordon Brown and his time as prime minister.
"Hundreds of people queued outside Eason's flagship store in O'Connell Street, many throughout the night. Blair's book has gone straight to the No 1 spot in Eason's stores throughout the country."
In the UK, 92,060 sales have been recorded, the best ever opening week sale for an autobiography since records began.