This week’s edition of the Sports Biblio Digest notes the distinguished collection of sports books honored this week in Britain, but with a sobering aside.

Forever Young, Oliver Kay, sports book marketOliver Kay’s “Forever Young” was named the Cross Sports Book Award book of the year. The book by Kay, football correspondent for The Times, was cited at the same time one of Britain’s leading sports book editors was shown the door by his employer.

According to The Bookseller, a British trade publication, Transworld has decided to pull back on the sports book genre “in the face of what its publisher calls “a rapidly declining market.”

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

Also In This Issue: “Smart Baseball;” John Saunders’ Posthumous Memoir; Vin Scully At the Hollywood Bowl; Howie Morenz; Nile Kinnick; The Passing Art of Magic Johnson; Jarmila Kratochvilova

Giles Elliott, editorial director at Transworld, editor of biographies of Premier League stars Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville as well as Jimmy Connors and other top sporting figures, is among those being made “redundant.”

That’s enough to make a sports-book lover’s heart stop. Compared to other categories, sports books are often overlooked in the industry as well as the critical community that reviews them. Much like newspaper sports staffs have been dubbed “the toy department,” sports books have to fight an uphill battle against many factors, most of all the loss of readers.

The Bookseller story doesn’t further detail the travails of the sports book market, or mention if other publishers are curtailing their output as well. Transworld is part of the larger Penguin Random House UK conglomerate and job-cutting and consolidations have been going on for several years and will likely continue.

The British sports book market features a rich variety that I, as an American reader, would like to spend more time exploring. I’ve long admired the multiple sports book awards programs there, something that has only caught on recently in the States. These are tremendous guides to examining the world of sports beyond the surface immediacy of the news media, especially the fleeting impatience of sports television.

One of the many noteworthy books Giles Elliott guided to publication at Transworld’s Corgi imprint is “The Secret Race,” cyclist Tyler Hamilton’s 2013 award-winning memoir of doping and the Tour de France in the wake of the Lance Armstrong saga.The Secret Race, Tyler Hamilton, sports book market

Much has been written about that sordid episode, including a number of lauded books, and Hamilton’s story could have found a publisher just about anywhere.

What I worry about, if the sports book market is contracting in a significant way, are books about less obscure sports, events or people having a chance to find a wider audience.

Judging by the many books that are still published, and the inquiries I get from publicists and authors for review copies, there’s more than I could possibly hope to read, or write about, for the rest of my days.

There’s constant joy in this, and one publisher’s decision to reduce its publication of sports books doesn’t necessarily signal a catastrophe. But it does prompt one to take pause, appreciate what’s available, and champion the work of those who are forging ahead with getting their books to market, however ample that may actually be.

Sports Book News

A Few Good Reads

Sports History Files

Collectibles and Memorabilia

Sports and the Arts

Sports and PoliticsThe LIncoln Portrait, Vin Scully

The Sports Biblio Digest is an e-mail newsletter delivered each Sunday. It contains commentary and links about sports books and history. You can subscribe here and search the archives. This is Digest issue No. 86, published June 18, 2017. The Digest is a companion to the Sports Biblio website.

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