Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Detective Work

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Right, tweeters and blog visitors, I need your help with a little mission. You need to be in the UK for this. If you are and can help, that would be brilliant. There’s a tiny prize (not much, but a token thanks; you’ll find it later in the post).

So, the background is: my book is out in paperback this week! Hurray. If you haven’t read it, I do hope - this isn’t the mission, but of course I hope - you’ll consider giving it a spin (description and newspaper reviews are on this page and there are lots of short tweet-reviews if you type FRFP in the search box on Twitter.)

BUT the bad news is: I’ve started hearing back from people that they aren’t finding it in their local bookshops - even in good old Waterstones, some people are finding it only in the “Indoor Games” section. That makes me sad - makes the book seem like a technical guide or something for gamblers only, which it absolutely isn’t. It’s a memoir, an autobiographical narrative, full of characters and plot twists like any other story. It’s about falling in love, and my family, and the strange places I’ve found myself at four o’clock in the morning, and what it feels like to win a million dollars. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big poker fan or you’ve never played the game in your life. It should be out on tables with “new books” or at least in “Biography”.

SO this is the favour I’m asking. What I’d love is: if you walk past a bookshop this weekend, or next week, could you just go in and ask if they’ve got it, and if so, where it is in the bookshop? And then post on this thread. Obviously you don’t need to buy it (I mean, I’d love it if you did - do you know, it would only take about a twentieth of my followers on Twitter to buy the book this week for it to be a BEST SELLER?!) - but all I’d really love is for you to just let me know the name and street of your local bookshop (not just Waterstones, any bookshop), whether they’ve got it, and where it is. That would be fantastically helpful.

Please note, I’m not making any money from the sales. I got an advance for the book and won’t get any more. I’d start getting royalties if it sold, like, a MILLION copies, but it’s not that sort of book - so this is nothing to do with making money. I’m just really proud of it, I know I’ll never write anything like it again, and I’d be so sad to think people didn’t get the chance to enjoy it just because it was hidden away.

Next weekend - let’s say at close of play on Sunday March 13th - I’ll write down all the names of people who have posted on this thread, put them in a hat, pull three of them out and we’ll send those three people a copy of the soundtrack to the book on CD. It’s not the greatest prize of all time but it’s a great soundtrack that goes very well with the story, and it’ll be a little thank you for stopping into the bookshop and helping with the investigation! So do use your real email address when posting (the email address won’t be posted on the site).

Thanks thanks! I’m hoping to accumulate a wealth of regional information….  VC x

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matthew at 6:33 pm on March 5th, 2011

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it in both manchester branches of waterstones.

Steve H at 6:34 pm on March 5th, 2011

Was looking for it earlier in Nottingham Waterstones, found it in the hobbies and games section.

Jo at 6:36 pm on March 5th, 2011

Congratulations on the book! It was on one of the display tables near the front of the store in Winchester Waterstones today. Bought on 3 for 2 together with Ian McE’s Solar + random Beast Quest. Looking forward to reading. (yours, not Beast Quest)

AmusebouceUK at 6:36 pm on March 5th, 2011

“they” closed our local Waterstones (Luton) 2 weeks ago and today, World Book Night, we hear the local independent book shop is closing AND the mobile library service that serves our village is being killed off ... Ironic or what!? Good luck with the research but it will have to be online for me… unless the small WHSmith nearby is carrying it… 

Rachel at 6:38 pm on March 5th, 2011

I saw your book today in the biography sections of Waterstones & WHSmith (bought a copy too & looking forward to reading it)

Scott G at 6:50 pm on March 5th, 2011

Having read the book I can vouch that it is not a poker instructional book. It’s about a daughter and a father, about finding your feet and about worrying way too much.
Let’s do this!

Angela at 6:55 pm on March 5th, 2011

I think we should take the mission a stage further and grab half a dozen copies of the book and scatter them in different sections of the shop in order to reach a wider audience. Now normally I wouldn’t advocate such reckless behaviour (yes, my bookshelves at home are arranged by genre and yes I know that’s normal) but it’s for the greater good! ;)

mark crompton at 6:57 pm on March 5th, 2011

I already bought the book in hardback. But you’re right to worry. I had a book out, years ago, nice two book deal, tv interest, follow up deal promised, publisher got the pub date wrong, by exactly a year so it didn’t appear. Gave me a new pub date - in Feb. Siberia.
Book died, deal killed, I’m teaching on the edge of Romford.

Diana at 7:04 pm on March 5th, 2011

Hi, I am about to buy the book for my Kindle. Would happily ask my local bookshop..however the Seaford branch of Sussex Stationers closed down, and we are left with very small WH Smiths and various charity shops! Good luck with the book, looking forward to reading it :)

kane gord at 7:05 pm on March 5th, 2011

I bought your book today in waterstones in Middlesbrough town centre (Borough Road
Middlesbrough, Cleveland, TS1 3BA)
...would have bought from a local, independent book store but there are quite literally none in the area. And i dont buy from amazon (had a very bad experience with a seller).

I found it in the games section along with all the puzzle and suduko books (right next to sports section). There was one copy and i bought it, well worth it so far. should finish by tommorrow.

Paul Reed at 7:06 pm on March 5th, 2011

My local Waterstones (maidstone) had a hardback in the indoor games area with a few other poker related books.

Angel at 7:07 pm on March 5th, 2011

I couldnt find it on the Kindle store it that helps (I would have got it if it was there!)

Rob at 7:18 pm on March 5th, 2011

I tweeted you earlier about this,  offending store is - Waterstones, 21-24 Royal Arcade, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 1NQ

Alan Rowe at 7:28 pm on March 5th, 2011

I will have a look and report back, Ms Coren.

JazBenz at 7:30 pm on March 5th, 2011

Would I be your number 1 fan if I flew from Germany to London for 2 days just to go into a book shop and do that? lol - no worries, I won’t - not that crazy but it’s the thought that counts (that’s a saying we germans have…) you may prefer actions more.

Oh and as far as “I’d be so sad to think people didn’t get the chance to enjoy it just because it was hidden away.” is concerned, no worries, the people who need and will identify with this book will draw it to them, automatically, that’s what funny/weird coincidences are for :)

I’ll try to gather all the UK people I’ve ever met online to do the bookstore thing. lol

Andrew Palmer at 7:45 pm on March 5th, 2011

I was in my local bookshop this morning - an independent in Tenbury Wells, called Books Books, go there at once, it’s wonderful - and saw your book there. I can’t say what section as I hadn’t read this post then, and didn’t know I needed to check. The shameful bit is that I thought “I must get that”, but didn’t, I got something else. *shuffles off with red face*

Brian at 8:18 pm on March 5th, 2011

My local independent bookshop (Kirkdale Bookshop, 272 Kirkdale, Sydenham, London SE26 4RS) didn’t have it in stock on Thursday (so I ordered a copy - which I picked up today - the paperback cover is much better than the hb by the way).

SpringerCharlie at 8:27 pm on March 5th, 2011

Hi Vicky-was under the games and hobbies section in the st anns sq waterstones branch in Manchester

palladian at 8:41 pm on March 5th, 2011

Will check some South Essex bookshops. (No tittering at the back - we do have bookshops OK!) But if we do find it under pastimes/games etc., where should we move it to: biography, beauty, where?

Mark at 9:01 pm on March 5th, 2011

@Angel You can buy it for the kindle on Amazon here:

Ben at 9:31 pm on March 5th, 2011

My local branch of Amazon has placed it in the “Hobbies & Games” section :)

@Angel, it is downloadable from the Kindle store too.

Chris at 10:59 pm on March 5th, 2011

In Ealing Broadway Waterstones, in the Games section.

Alex at 3:41 am on March 6th, 2011

Hi VC, thanks for your reply to my comment on the previous blog. I can help with your investigation, but I must confess I have an unfair advantage over the others, as I know exactly where your book is being displayed without moving from my chair. Working for Smiths in a Cheshire branch, I’m responsible for all non-fiction books and I gladly put it in Biography as a face out. I would never dream of putting it in Indoor Games though - that would be treacherous! Unfortunately we were only given two copies so I’m afraid it’s not enough to put on a display table :-( PS If I’m lucky enough to win I’d love my CD to be signed. Thanks muchly.

David Greenwood(aka on fb as 'Nina Papillon') at 9:52 am on March 6th, 2011

Will be going into Bradford Waterstones (please don’t laugh, it’s Gothic and gorgeous!) next week and WILL OBEY! lol
  Loved your article in the Observer today - increasingly turning to yours first - far better than Barbara Ellen and Suzanne Moore in your sister ‘Guardian’.
  As a ‘Time Team’and ‘Rowan Williams’ freak, I feel close to you as a sister - am in transition - you are an examplar of what I want to be as a woman.
  i loved your poor old Dad and I always like the nice things you say about him.
  I am a bit of a Submissive so especially liked today’s article -dominatrices are on the whole fantastic women and have helped me on my journey into womanhood -please don’t be offended - bless you, will buy your book as soon as am in funds -xxxx- Nina/Dave

Alice at 10:40 am on March 6th, 2011

Huddersfield waterstones had it but in the indoor games bit. In manchester 3 out of the 4 i looked didn’t and one of the waterstones did but it wasn’t out you had to ask for it .

Tony at 10:55 am on March 6th, 2011

I had already purchased a copy from Amazon, but I noticed it on prominent display in the new books stand at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Broad Street, Oxford yesterday. It’s also available from Blackwell’s Online in both paper formats and as an eBook.

christian dean at 12:01 pm on March 6th, 2011

Wh smiths in leicester - book found in biographies.
Waterstones leicester - book found in biographies
Waterstones (the shires shopping centre leicester)  - book found on spring bestseller 3 for 2 table with other biogs and fiction titles.
Hope that helps

Nia Wearn at 12:43 pm on March 6th, 2011

Report from Birmingham waterstones (bull ring) - it’s in the indoor games section on the 3rd floor

Wormella at 12:45 pm on March 6th, 2011

Birmingham (bull ring) Waterstones has it in the indoor games section on the 3rd floor

Eric Ian Gibbons at 12:58 pm on March 6th, 2011

It was at the local Waterstones on front display table, buy 2 for 3.  Great read and can not put it down.  And love your blogs, plus you’re gorgeous.  x

Andy Chandler at 1:18 pm on March 6th, 2011

Looked in Redditch. Waterstones had three copies come in on Thursday that were still in a box, not on the shelves.  WH Smith don’t stock it

Ian Tyreman at 1:27 pm on March 6th, 2011

So, eventually found it Waterstones in Reading in the Games section.  Had to ask for it as I didnt think of looking there.

Just about to start to read it..  Can’t wait to hear how you won a million :-)

Rob Hayward at 2:02 pm on March 6th, 2011

In sunny (or not) Southend-on-Sea, 1 copy in Smiths in card games, 2 in Waterstones in indoor games. That’s it as far as bookshops go (in the central area of a fairly large town, which is a shame). They are still there btw, already read and enjoyed in hardback, and agree would be an enormous shame if not found by non poker players.

Oliver Morton at 2:33 pm on March 6th, 2011

Waterstones in Greenwich had two, in biography—now has just one, since among other things Molly and Matthew Hawn were singing the book’s praises to me last night. Left the remaining copy face out…

RomanticRecluse at 3:12 pm on March 6th, 2011

I saw a copy in Sally Bercow’s house.  I saw it through the front window.

Glyn at 3:35 pm on March 6th, 2011

Looked for your book today in Waterstones Bromley. Eventually found it three shelves down in the indoor games section amongst bridge, chess and magic books etc on the poker tab

Jon MW at 4:06 pm on March 6th, 2011

Within 12 hours of reading this I’d forgotten about it.

But I was book buying today anyway and seeing your paperback in Waterstones reminded me.

Waterstones had quite a few in the ‘Indoor Games’ section, I have amended this situation slightly. Now they have a couple in ‘Indoor Games’, a couple on the ‘Biography’ display tables and a couple on the ‘Biography’ branch recommendations shelf.

WH Smith didn’t have any - Alex’s previous comments might suggest they’d sold out.

Sadly there was nowhere else to check for new books, every other bookshop in Hastings only sells 2nd hand - not so long ago I had a choice of 5.

If any more Ninja Visual Marketing missions are needed in future be sure to let us know about them :)

Wendy at 4:06 pm on March 6th, 2011

Waterstones, York.
Your book in poker section, had to ask twice, once downstairs and again upstairs. The assistant took me to shelf, but when asked why it wasn’t downstairs with the fiction replied that she ‘didn’t know why’. I asked if they would consider moving it downstairs and was told no, as it was about poker. I pointed out that they had Harry Potter in the adult fiction section and also memoirs of comedians but I just got a blank look and a shrug.  I ‘accidentally’ left a copy downstairs on the ‘new reads’ section on my way to the till! Looking forward to reading the book.

Mark Rees at 4:21 pm on March 6th, 2011

Your book is in the biography section in Waterstones in Jameson Street in Hull

Richard Andrzejak at 4:28 pm on March 6th, 2011

Hi Vic, In Waterstones Chatham, Kent, the Hardbook version is prominently displayed in Indoor Games. I asked a helpful assistant who said “I’m sure we have the paperback” but that they could not find it anywhere in the shop or stockroom, and when they find it, the paperback will be displayed in, yes, Indoor games. yours Richard Andrzejak aka Hercule Holmes #bookshopdetective. p.s. will carry on reseaching/looking.

Fiona at 4:33 pm on March 6th, 2011

Waterstones in Richmond upon Thames had it in both Indoor games and in Sports. Quite prominent in Sports with the front cover facing out, next to Alex Higgins biog and above Sir Alex Ferguson… Couldn’t see it elsewhere.

Rob Francis at 5:17 pm on March 6th, 2011

Just checked my local Waterstones in Bracknell. Couldn’t see a copy on the tables, new books or in Biographies - or even find the Indoor Games section (mistakenly assumed that would be a sub-section of Sport!) Asked an assistant, who said they had 14, with one In Biographies and the rest in Indoor Games, which she took me too. Maybe the one in Biographies had been sold earlier and not replaced yet? The only have 13 copies now - how could i resist? ;-)

Couldn’t see any in the W H Smith, and it was almost closing so didn’t have a chance to grab anyone to ask.

Will keep looking while I’m out and about this week.

Richard at 5:28 pm on March 6th, 2011

In the Waterstones on James Street in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, they’ve got both hardback and paperback versions of your book. But they’re in the “Indoor Games” section, alongside some books about gambling and a book by Derren Brown.

ellie at 5:49 pm on March 6th, 2011

I think you are just the coolest. Seriously. I’d love to be strong, tough, and independent like you.

Bryan Walker at 6:01 pm on March 6th, 2011

Waterstones at the trafford centre in the 3 for 2 section at the front near the tills. Got quite excited when I saw it. Oh dear.

jollytommo at 6:40 pm on March 6th, 2011

David’s Letchworth lists FRFP as ‘Gifts and Humour’ in their stock records, but eventually found it alongside poker books under ‘Games’.

SomeonenotverycoolfromPoole at 7:34 pm on March 6th, 2011

Waterstone’s in Poole has both paperback and hardback versions in the ‘Indoor Games’ section…

Victoria Coren at 7:53 pm on March 6th, 2011

Hurray for Waterstones in the Trafford Centre! You’re doing sterling work out there team, thanks very much, keep em coming. I’ve sent the publishers a list of the story so far… but damn all these indoor games sections, honestly. It should be with New Books!

Adrian McLoughlin at 9:26 pm on March 6th, 2011

Well how exciting - I read your column this morning (loved the bit about the Bercows) and realised that the book that kept me up finishing it until 3.00 am was the very book that’s just come out in paperback; I got it in hardback in a 2nd hand bookshop about a day ago so feel a bit smug about paying less…..... Anyway I loved it and read it in one sitting. Fantastic. I play poker and watch a lot on TV so that part of it was great but how lovely to read such an honest, funny and affecting account of living in that world and of the ups and downs of your life. And of course I’ll be checking the local waterstones and will let you know if they’ve got it.

Thanks for a fabulous read and for keeping me up WAY past my bedtime.


Saul Richardson at 12:07 am on March 7th, 2011

I have been looking for your books, unfortunately I only have Waterstones. I have for richer for poorer and I want the one about making a porno. So where should I look for Victoria Coren. Poker books. No. Autobiographical. No. Humour. No. Can’t even find your dads books. But strangely enough there are loads of gruffalos. But I’ll keep looking.

kev at 2:29 am on March 7th, 2011

i found your book in wh smiths in hobbies section, when i asked they said they had 5 copies in stock. hope this helps

John Robertson at 8:39 am on March 7th, 2011

Saul Richardson - According to the Waterstone’s website,  ‘Once More, with Feeling’ is in stock at Hatchards, Piccadilly and Norwich Royal Arcade.

Piccadilly I get, but is there a special interest in pornography in Norfolk?

Meanwhile, ‘For Richer, For Poorer’ is No. 1 of 6,352 in ‘Indoor Games’ and 45 of 90,147 in ‘Biography’ so I don’t think there’s too much to worry about.

Neil at 9:31 am on March 7th, 2011

Hiya, in the Warrington Waterstones it’s in the biography section. I bought one. Bring back balderdash and piffle! :D

jim carr at 9:48 am on March 7th, 2011

hi victoria. Waterstones in George st, Altrincham, Cheshire (South Manchester really!) have it like the rest under “indoor games”. In the unlikely event of being drawn out of your hat, as i dont have a CD player,could i be cheeky and have a signed photo, or paperback?  xx jim.

Graham at 10:20 am on March 7th, 2011

Waterstones in Chichester has it under Biography

martine hill at 11:05 am on March 7th, 2011

waterstones in Thackery mall, Fareham, Hampshire = your book can be found under indoor games….

Rob at 1:10 pm on March 7th, 2011

Hi. I used to work in retail (albeit music rather than books) and things would be filed in the shop according to how they had been classified on the central computer system - it sounds like this might be why the Waterstone’s/Indoor Games situation is occurring. Maybe your publishers can contact their head office to get it reclassified and send a memo out on their intranet?

Andrew at 1:30 pm on March 7th, 2011

I couldn’t find it in the Biography section of my local Waterstones (Enfield), so I asked at the desk and they said that they had two paperback copies in Indoor Games.

If its any consolation, they only have one copy now. I look forward to reading the other!

Sophia Wickham at 2:37 pm on March 7th, 2011

I was in Heffers in Cambridge this morning where your book is in a prominent position by the cash desk on a 3 for 2 promotion. I hope it sells well, I read it last year in hardback and thought it excellent.

Dan at 2:46 pm on March 7th, 2011

Waterstones, The Galleries, Bristol: there is a pile on one of the 3 for 2 mix and match tables when you go in, but not New Books.  Most of their copies are in the Poker section, next to Indoor…

They are easily the most promoted title in the poker section.

Rob Y at 3:32 pm on March 7th, 2011

Checked the Waterstones in Gloucester today and it wasn’t yet on the shelves. The copies they had were in a back storeroom but they said they would be going in either the sports or indoor games section. The Gloucester WH Smiths had it in the biography section. Hope that helps.

Stewart Barron (stewbee99) at 4:06 pm on March 7th, 2011

Not in stock at all in WH Smiths in Cheltenham .
Will check out Waterstones later in the week.

Ian at 4:20 pm on March 7th, 2011

I’m afraid your book is not available in my local WHSmiths in Liscard.  I will be in Liverpool on Saturday so will check a few of the bookstores there and let you know which sections it is in.

Gary at 5:35 pm on March 7th, 2011

Saw your book in Waterstone’s, East Kilbride (near Glasgow), but in the games section, alas.

Katie at 6:15 pm on March 7th, 2011

Waterstones in plaza on Oxford street London had it in indoor games this afternoon - will check Newcastle when I get back home!!

Doug Harrison at 7:04 pm on March 7th, 2011

Another Waterstones report, in Eastbourne’s Terminus Road store its also in the poker section of indoor games. They have 3 copies of your book and only 1 of pretty much anything else so must be confident it will sell. I didnt pick it up as I’m currently in a Kindle fetish phase right now! In the unlikely event i win please feel free to save the hassle of putting the eagles track on cd ;)

MarkP at 7:09 pm on March 7th, 2011

Not good news from Birmingham, Waterstone’s on New Street didn’t have it neither did WHSmith’s on High Street but I did find it in Waterstone’s in the Pavilions, which had it under the ‘Indoor Games’ section

Richard at 7:28 pm on March 7th, 2011

Book shops thin on the ground in Royston. Couldn’t find your book in the branch of WH Smith.

Chris at 11:53 pm on March 7th, 2011

Waterstone’s in Jersey (pretty much the only dedicated book shop on the island), 4 copies in the ‘Indoor Games’ section upstairs, 3 paperback and a hardback nestled between Derren Brown and a Chambers pocket crossword dictionary. Didn’t purchase yours as I’m already enjoying it on Kindle!

Neil at 12:39 am on March 8th, 2011

Found the book in Cardiff Waterstones…in the ‘indoor games’ section. Really enjoyed it.

Norman at 1:20 am on March 8th, 2011

Visited Slough (of “The Office” fame) Waterstones branch closing soon so having a reduced price sale to shift old stock.  Did not find FRFP, but did find “The Essential Alan Coren”.
WHSmiths did not have on shelves.  Shop closed before I could ask if there were any in storerooms, or perhaps sold out. 

zippyd1971 at 8:08 am on March 8th, 2011

Sorry Vicky, no sign of your book at WH Smiths at Newcastle station.  I’ll check at my destination and see if there’s any there.

Bill g at 9:58 am on March 8th, 2011

Waterstones Newcastle. Prominent but in Biography section.

Amanda at 11:35 am on March 8th, 2011

Store: Amersham, Bucks (HP6 5EQ)
In-Store Location: Indoor Games

I’ve bought a copy this morning and have started reading it; think it’s great.

It’s ironic that the book is located next to all the “Teach Yourself Poker” books because 99% of people playing poker are men and men never buy books written by women. Hence JK Rowling choosing to use her initials to disguise the fact she is a female.

Lucy at 12:58 pm on March 8th, 2011

Went to Waterstones on Broad Street in Oxford after lectures today.
Bad news, it was on the bottom shelf in a room round the back (where the graphic novels and science fiction are kept) in the “indoor games” section and, most notably, next to a sign saying “brain training”. I think you might want to ring them…
Also, in Blackwells on Broad Street, it’s in the “biography” section just inside the front door.
I bought my book online last week, can’t wait for it to arrive!

Rob F at 1:08 pm on March 8th, 2011

Like Rob above I have worked in entertainment retail before and a quick call may get it reclassified. But think carefully, maybe better to be a big fish in the small pond of games/sport rather than vice versa with biographies where there is far more pressure on shelf space and you may get dropped more quickly.

I’d also caution people against guerilla re-classification, if someone comes into the shop wanting to buy the book and staff can’t find it because it’s been mis-filed, that’s not really going to help.

Anyway congratulations on a really good read. As someone who frequented the Vic in the mid 2000s it was fascinating to learn what was going on behind the outward appearance (facade sounds harsh) of the pretty girl who flitted past my £1-2 table towards the big game.

Ian at 1:25 pm on March 8th, 2011

Not in Waterstones or WH Smith in Bury, Manchester.

Dan at 2:34 pm on March 8th, 2011

W H Smith, The Galleries. Bristol.

In stock but none on the shelves.  The will go in Sports and Games-poker when they’re put out. (I assume they will put them out?)

Bill G at 2:43 pm on March 8th, 2011

I’ve also found it in the 3for2 pile at Newcastle Waterstones..  .. not many left, apparently..

John (BenButton) at 2:53 pm on March 8th, 2011

Hounslow WHSmiths, no copies, but should be in biography. WHSmiths Union Street Birmingham, they have one copy but is ‘missing, presumed lost.’ On a side note they had Giles’ fiction book, Wrigglers (?) [MOD: “WINKLER” !] and Alan’s (auto?) biography!

Waterstones High Street Birmingham has 5 copies of the book, all in the Indoor Games section, the New Street Waterstones branch has 2 copies, both in the Indoor Games section. When I asked in the High Street branch the man at the counter said, ‘Oh yes, that’s the gambling lady.’ When I asked in WhSmiths in Birmingham she typed Victorian Corren into her computer, and asked me if it was a period detective story!!!

dave m at 3:50 pm on March 8th, 2011

bought my copy from the poker section in Waterstone’s in Peterborough. Finished reading it today - definately worth the money even if you don’t play.

Victoria Coren at 4:10 pm on March 8th, 2011

I’ve got to say, you guys are doing an AMAZING research job out there! I can’t say I’m loving the results - it seems a really tiny minority are seeing it on display in new books and the overwhelming majority tucked away in Indoor Games… where I suspect it will only be found by people who are looking for it already, and not ‘impulse bought’ by anyone just browsing for an Easter read. But I should probably be grateful it’s in the shops at all!

Thanks so much - this thread will be open til Sunday, you’re all being brilliant xx

Vicki b at 4:42 pm on March 8th, 2011

W h smith at keele services (northbound m6) have it in the non fiction best seller display, picked up a copy for the husband yesterday as he won’t read my ebook copy. W h smith in widnes don’t have it and the assistant didn’t know where it would be if they did. Hope that helps and yay for your BEST SELLING book, so pleased for you x

Brian at 5:08 pm on March 8th, 2011

Wanted your book having grown up on your teenage newspaper columns. As someone had already hit Bromley Waterstones, I went to Smiths yesterday. Alas, I couldn’t find a copy anywhere, not even amongst a gazillion Sudoku books (yawn) in the games section. Couldn’t remember where Waterstones was so decided my stomach was more critical & bought chocolate & went back to work
Today I hit the shopping centre & found Waterstones. As confirmed, you’re in games, but not biography. I picked you up, but seconds later,attention was diverted by the new Simon’s Cat book. I had to buy that but I will buy you next, I promise.
I did swap you for Simons Cat, so you’re on a shelf a few feet away from your previous life,though by now you might have been returned alongside your other copies under poker

Brian at 5:11 pm on March 8th, 2011

The word count on your blog killed me, I wanted to add that I was dithering about buying it as flicking through a few pages, it seemed to be solely about poker (which I don’t like!), so was briefly unsure if it was autobiographical or not (couldn’t even find a list of chapters to give me any clues either, I must have been thick or feeling the pressure from deciding whether to switch a copy to biography section), so that probably explains why a cartoon cat stole my attention instead.  I’m not trying to cheat & get my name here twice, but if I have doubled my chances & I win, can I have a signed picture instead please to use a very nice bookmark when I get your book next time? Thanks

The Tim at 5:53 pm on March 8th, 2011

Checked out shops in Ashford, Kent, ending in W-stones, County Sq. (are you trying to find out where we all live?). Can’t have looked that suspicious in dark glasses and thick coat, probing all the shelves looking for FRfP. Biography - no, Indoor Games – yes - bottom shelf, four copies @£8.99 or 3for2. Had quick browse. Not to make it look too obvious, thought I’d have an even longer look at the other books too.

Why did she give me that strange look as I left? - I wonder. All I asked was how many they’d sold, why it was in that section, explaining how I was researching on behalf of a female celebrity whom I naturally couldn’t name..

But seriously, I can see how it could seem more like a poker book to the uninitiated. I hope you don’t get into trouble for starting this thread.

Karen Herbert at 6:30 pm on March 8th, 2011

Hi, I had several staff running round the Cribbs Causeway branch of Waterstones in Bristol today- unfortunately it was in the indoor games section :(
On the plus side I think I convinced one of the boys that worked there that it wasn’t something pervy (he was slightly thrown by the sub title) and that it should at least be in the biography section. He seemed genuinely interested when I explained what it was about- oh and I also practically ordered him to watch Only Connect. Good ten minutes work all round I’d say!

zippyd1971 at 7:32 pm on March 8th, 2011

Much better at WH Smith, Leeds Station.  On the mix and match/3 for 2 display at the entrance.  Ok, on the bottom shelf, but nonetheless, still there and prominent.

Nick Gibbons at 7:47 pm on March 8th, 2011

Leadenhall Market Waterstones, London. Found your book on a 3 for 2 Spring Bestsellers table not more than 10 feet from the main entrance. Bought a copy. Would love to get it signed.

Jon Farrington at 9:08 pm on March 8th, 2011

Found it in Waterstones - certainly wasn’t the first person to ask for the book. Afraid it was in the indoor sports/poker section, although its right next to the autobiographies sections. This was Southampton.

Great book by the way

Rob Bender at 7:35 am on March 9th, 2011

Went into a bookshop in Abergavenny, they had the hardback version (which still looks brilliant) in the ‘indoor games’ section, sat next to a book by Devilfish. They could get the paperback one if I ordered it.

Sorry that it seems to be so scarce, it is a brilliant book.

Penny at 10:58 am on March 9th, 2011

After @RealDMitchell raved about your book on Twitter, I tried to buy it last Saturday in Waterstones on Guildford High St. The assistant said there were 7 copies in the shop and led me off to the dreaded “indoor games”. None there. He said it was on “3 for 2” downstairs but couldn’t leave his till, so urged me to try the tables on the ground floor near the front. I circled those tables 3 times and still couldn’t find it! This was turning into a treasure hunt! Gave up, went over to WHSmith and found it straight away in the biog section. :-) Am really loving it btw, brilliantly written. It may well inspire me to continue with the Poker blog I started a while back (, but it’s hard to stay away from the poker tables when I have free time at the computer! ;-)

James at 12:37 pm on March 9th, 2011

Nottingham Waterstones, Bridlesmith Gate.  Indoor hobbies and Games section.  Had to go through two staff to find it who seemed a little put out when I explained I bought the hardback months ago and just wanted to see where they had it.  I think it was the fact that I had the hardback with me and was rereading it that they took particular exception to.  I then went to play a £10 rebuy tournament and pulled the book out and started to read it when a player tanked over calling my bet, had an argument with the cardroom manager that it wasn’t a technical guide and got the player to fold!  Excellent book and useful false tell in one, thank you!  Having cashed I will now go a copy of the paperback in thanks…

Jayne Andrew at 1:33 pm on March 9th, 2011

Just called in to Waterstone’s to find it in the Crosswords and Sudoku section! I played HELL. On the plus side, as I was purchasing it, the shop assistant said: “Oh groovy, yeh, Victoria Coren, yeh”. So, not all bad.

Dan at 2:41 pm on March 9th, 2011

Blackwell, Park Street, Bristol: Wall 3 for 2 display near the front including face out, third shelf up.  This completes my bulletins from central Bristol.

murrphyz at 2:54 pm on March 9th, 2011

Waterstones on Garrick St, WC2E - one copy upstairs in the ‘Spring Bestsellers’ Mix and Match 3 for 2 section (a table in middle of shop).  Two other copies downstairs under Biography.

WaterstonesTrafalgar Square, WC2N - several copies downstairs under Indoor Gaming, and few other copies also under Biography, none on display in the mix and match, best sellers or (disappointingly) the ‘Quintessentially English’ section.

WH Smiths, Charing Cross Station - copies located at number 42 in the chart and also two displays to the right in the general buy two for the price of one type section (not sure what the offer was).  Very small bookshop though.

Langerer at 3:00 pm on March 9th, 2011

Another travesty at Waterstones - Leadenhall Market in London. Only available in the Indoor Games section I’m afraid.

Victoria Coren at 3:09 pm on March 9th, 2011

You are all brilliant. My gloom at the book not being out in the front of bookshops, all piled up and looking enticing, is hugely mitigated by the lovely idea of this TEAM OF DETECTIVES filing their reports! My publishers are now talking to Waterstones who are promising to move it over into biography - no idea if any of this will translate into sales but your endeavours are cheering me up a lot, thank you x

Davidffffff at 3:32 pm on March 9th, 2011

Couldn’t find it Kettering WH Smith but 3 (now 2!) in Indoor Games section in Waterstones

Brooncat at 4:40 pm on March 9th, 2011

I found (& bought) your book at The Book House, High St, Thame which is a great independent book shop. It was face out in the Biography section.

Norman at 6:38 pm on March 9th, 2011

Visited Uxbridge, and did not find FRFP on display in either the small independant bookshop or in WH Smiths.

Waterstones had 5 paperbacks and one hardback in indoor games, on prominent display, centre of top shelf. Paperbacks part of 3for2 offer.  Easy to find if you look in indoor games, but indoor games tucked away in corner.  Retitle book “Naughty Indoor Games” and everyone will know where to look.
None in more prominent, but crowded biography section (one after a bit of subtle reshelving, but that’s all there was room for).  In biography must compete with King’s Speech, John Barrowman, Fry, Agatha Christie, Susan Boyle, Katie Price, Bill Bryson, Paul O’Grady, Nelson Mandela, Peter Kay, Dawn French, Wossy, Parky, & Palin to name those I recognised, so Rob F might have a point.

Angela at 8:42 pm on March 9th, 2011

Latest dispatch from your armies in the North:
Waterstones, Sauchiehall St, Glasgow - copies on 3 for 2 tables near front of shop. Also in that pesky Indoor Games section but taking up 2/3 of a shelf so fairly hard to miss!

WH Smiths, Sauchiehall St, none I’m afraid.

On a related note, Glasgow city centre used to have 5 bookshops, now it has 2 and one of them is WH Smiths ,which I consider more of a newsagents than a bookshop. The whole situation makes me very sad, the old John Smiths Bookshop on St Vincent St was one of the best bookshops I’d ever been in, I spent many happy hours in my youth browsing the crammed, dusty shelves for literary gems; the staff would go out of their way to find a book or order one in for you.  It makes me sad that we’re losing these kind of shops. 

Zaphod Camden at 9:19 pm on March 9th, 2011

I can report that Waterstones in central Aberdeen (Union Bridge, AB11 to be precise) is stocking the book in the biography section… which came as an unexpected (and pleasant) surprise!

Incidentally, the security word was radio46…imagining some weird BBC digital hybrid of news, plays, comedy and classic rock :)

Alan C at 9:38 pm on March 9th, 2011

Hi Victoria,
The Waterstones in Central Middlesbrough in James Cook Square, the book wasn’t in the Biography section and wasn’t in the Poker/games section,  I managed to find two copies on a table marked
“Books we can’t put down”  3 for 2 with a load of sports books.
In Smiths in Central MiddIesbrough I had to enquire,  and they found they had 1 in stock but didn’t know where it was.  I managed to locate it in the Fiction section alongside Jackie Collins,  they must think it is a racy book full of sex and intrigue.  I already have the book, I really enjoyed it,  it is avail on Play and Amazon.
I hope the CD version is read by yourself and that this info was of use to you.
It would be great if your book goes over a million and you can reap the benefits,  sorry this is so long. 

Robert Francis at 9:42 pm on March 9th, 2011

Another day, another Waterstones. Basingstoke had one in the Biiography section but nothing in Indoor Games or on the tables. Really enjoying it so far, BTW!

Duffer at 10:26 pm on March 9th, 2011

In the railway station that bears your name (i.e. London Victoria), WH Smith seem to be stocking the book in three separate sections. Firstly, in the ‘non-fiction’ chart (you are currently at number 42!), secondly, on the ‘buy one, get one half-price’ table (sandwiched between books by Clive Cussler and Laura Wilson) and, thirdly, in the biography section, nestled between a work about the nurse Edith Cotterill and one about your dad.

They don’t appear to have an ‘indoor games’ section…

Simon at 10:41 pm on March 9th, 2011

I note someone else above has already reported that York Waterstones (persumably the one on High Ousegate) has it with the poker books.  I was in there earlier today and they’ve moved it to the biography section.

Steve T at 12:37 am on March 10th, 2011

In Waterstones York someone mentioned it was in the Poker section. Found the paperback today in biography too.

Brian at 9:13 am on March 10th, 2011

I’ve now read the book and enjoyed it enormously, even though I knew nothing about poker. Whereas I can now say “it’s the nuts” with conviction.

Victoria Coren at 9:42 am on March 10th, 2011

Look, look, look at the last few comments on this thread! The book is starting to move over into biography - that’s down to you guys! Hurray for the team!

You know, all of us who write books in this modern techno internet world… we know it’s hard to get them out there, we dream of piles of our book on front tables looking enticing, we know it’s a struggle because we’re competing against so many other media never mind other books. Every time I hear that one of you saw mine in a front display I thrill with excitement and wish it was happening everywhere! But getting into biography is definitely an improvement & an achievement and we’re doing with your help, thank you xx

Adrian McLoughlin at 12:42 pm on March 10th, 2011

Waterstones in Bromley has about 5 copies but they are in Games and Sports in a little sub-section called “Poker”. W H Smiths in Bromley doesn’t have it at all - or much of anything else…...

Stuart at 1:10 pm on March 10th, 2011

I was in the Darlington Waterstone’s yesterday and they had it in the indoor games section.

bill beedie at 1:26 pm on March 10th, 2011

Waterstones Rose Lane Canterbury has it in the Biography section.  I promise to buy it at LHR on Tuesday on my way to Ottawa

graham young at 2:32 pm on March 10th, 2011

Found it in Waterstones Chatham. Had to ask as it was near the front of the shop. Not only did I find it,bought it too!

TonyK at 2:47 pm on March 10th, 2011

On the main tables out in the front section of Waterstones Sheffield near the main doors and tills

Tim Vitalis at 4:06 pm on March 10th, 2011

Thank you for making me feel like challenge Anneka!

Found it in:

159 Stoke Newington High St
London N16 0NY
020 7249 2808

It’s on the front table as they’ve recently ordered a few in, if not, it’s in the ‘Biography’ section or just ask the super friendly staff! Yeah!

Trevor Hogg at 6:44 pm on March 10th, 2011

Newcastle has lost all its best bookshops over recent years- first tried Fenwicks dept store’s book dept- no luck. Then the large WH Smiths- again they didn’t have it. Finally Waterstones had it well displayed in the biography section I am pleased to report. Reading commences tonight

Andy Cooper (andy1702) at 12:01 am on March 11th, 2011

Here are my Findings from the Meadowhall Centre, Sheffield.
Waterstones (The Avenue) had 3 paperback copies placed end on under indoor games / poker, out of reach on the top shelf.
Waterstones (Park Lane) had no copies!
The Works had no copies.
WH Smiths had one copy under ‘Games’, hidden end on down on a ground level shelf and behind another book displayed side on in front of it! (Smith’s now have no copies because I bought it!)

Oliver James at 11:57 am on March 11th, 2011

It was in the humour section at Waterstones in Bromley (Kent), it’s now in the autobiography section there (I spend a lot of money & time there so they listen to me).

It’s a really good read, I’m half way through now and I’ve found it witty, insightful and very touching - I hope you do write many more books in the future.

Ian Cox at 12:13 pm on March 11th, 2011

Totnes Bookshop, Fore Street, Totnes, Devon has two copies correctly displayed in the biography section next to Alistair Cooke’s.

Kerry at 12:42 pm on March 11th, 2011

Checked my two local bookshops (both very small), no copies in either Windsor Books or WHSmith, both on Windsor Road, Penarth CF64

Dave Benham at 4:40 pm on March 11th, 2011

Ok, this is detective work of a sort - if you’re an iPad owner I’d recommend downloading the Kindle app for free and then purchasing the book via Amazon. £8.99 from iBooks, £4.17 from Amazon’s Kindle store.

Really enjoying the read!

Rhys at 6:44 pm on March 11th, 2011

Team Wales report (Cardiff and Newport) Waterstones in Cardiff and Newport both sell your book in their “indoor games” section this confused the nice lady in Cardiff who kept assuring me that the 1 copy they had left would be in the “autobiography” section. Cardiff had 5 copies ( I got the last one) Newport had one copy left out of the 4 that they had ordered. WH Smiths had your book in the auto biography section of the store in both locations, The Cardiff store had you in the spot next to Clarkson’s latest right wing bile. (I had a chuckle at that) It seems that Smiths have ordered your book in 10s (2 left in Cardiff, 5 left in Newport) Hope this was the kind of info you where looking for.Regards, Rhys (@red365) P.S Waterstones have you on 3for2 discount.

Jon Medcalf at 9:33 pm on March 11th, 2011

I bought mine on Amazon too, but kept an eye out this week when trawling the bookshops around Great Malvern on a quiet week off - Hereford Waterstones had it on a separate display near-ish Biogs, and no Malvern district second-hand bookshop had any hardbacks, which maybe reflects they’re slow readers or possessive of the hardback in the Malvern Hills. But you realise the Cataloguing in Publication has the Dewey classification as sport, which won’t help ?  (BTW: I took ‘Once More With Feeling’ away with the intention of finishing it, but Christine told me to shut up - I was apparently laughing far too much. So I read Brian Cox’s account of playing Lear -  left in the cottage. Barrel of laughs, that was… )

JohnnyGingerbread at 12:37 am on March 12th, 2011

I’ve just heard George Galloway on the radio discussing females and humour, and he described you as the funniest woman in the country!  You’re definitely in my top five.

The Tim at 9:48 am on March 12th, 2011

JohnnyGingerbread - did George Galloway only say this country? - How about the funniest woman in the world? No? Ok, well….Europe then.

velja at 11:23 am on March 12th, 2011

i’m sorry but i don’t live in england. i’ll be glad to help you VC when and if your book comes to serbia i will look at the book shops…

No doubt that the book will be equally successful as your poker play

Kevin at 11:26 am on March 12th, 2011

Just bought the last copy in Waterstones - Highcross, Leicester!

Was in the Biography section (with a 3 for 2 mix and match promotion sticker)

I’m enjoying it so far :)

AndytheDealer at 12:14 pm on March 12th, 2011

Waterstones 220-226 Chiswick High Road.

Staff, ‘One copy in stock, in the Biography section.’

After subsequent investigation, the good news is, that copy had been sold and they are ordering another one for next week.

Don’t pop me in the draw, because I’ve already won a prize!

Charlotte at 2:50 pm on March 12th, 2011

Hey Vicky,
Nottingham City Centre Mission!
First stop … Waterstones (Bridlesmith Gate) eventually located in the indoor games poker section between “Harrington on Hold’em Volume 2” and “Texas Hold’em for Dummies”. WHSmiths (Victoria Centre) this is where the fun began, had look in the newbie’s and poker section found nothing, so I asked, they had one copy in. I was led back to the poker section – nothing. The Smiths employee asked a colleague, looked at a picture of the front cover concluding that it would have been put in the relationships section. After searching through the relationships section, SEX section, and a few Karma Sutras. It was promptly thought that it must have been put in the Erotica Section …. 

… At which point I assured them it wouldn’t be in there (much to my own personal amusement when one considers the focus of last Sunday’s article). A sudden look of a beginner looking down at a pair of Aces occurs on the employees face at which I’m lead off to the Biography section. Where the employee suddenly pulls out a book from the shelf, and to my disbelief there it was. Stating that she noticed the book there earlier and had been meaning to move it to the poker section as it had been placed there by mistake. After thanking the assistants and explaining that I was only checking that the book was in, they walked off with the book muttering some explicit comments concerning time wasting, placing the book along the way back in the poker section… (continued…)

Charlotte at 2:53 pm on March 12th, 2011

… Just before leaving the shop and keeping a low profile from the two assistants, sneaked into the poker section, grabbed your book, and went to return it back to the point in the Biography section where it had come from on the shelf. Happy that I had returned the book to its rightful place and carried out my good deed for the day, I was about to leave when a sudden glimpse of the book next to yours (Cheryl Cole’s Bio) for which there was a number of copies, made me back track, pull your book out of its little unnoticeable crevice on the shelf and placed it in front of a couple of the numerous copies of Cheryl’s, so that people can see it is their and waiting to be picked up by some fortunate passer-by…

… After a rather amusing morning mission – hopefully you have all the info. you need concerning other possible locations for your book. Also I hope my morning wanderings have given you a slight smile and maybe even a chuckle I know I definitely got a laugh out of it! So goodnight for now as I’m off for a nap before work tonight! Good luck in Manchester!!! Charlotte (“Lily Cole” Dealer)

P.S: Please excuse the length … I do tend to go on a bit so I’ve been informed! :D

Richard Andrzejak at 3:35 pm on March 12th, 2011

Waterstones Maidstone Kent 3 copies of paperback included in the 3 for 2 mix and match offer, displayed in Indoor Games. Hercule Holmes #bookshopdetective

Steve in Newcastle at 8:38 pm on March 12th, 2011

Hi Victoria - Got mine from before Christmas… hardback, baby! Just getting around to reading it now [sorry, Fry’s one got in first]. I do have to say though, even after maybe 20 pages or so, it’s an enthralling read, I’m enjoying it very much. Also caught your lovely tones on the Steve Wright show the other day and have decided I want you to do an audio book of FRFP… will you do that for me, please? Lovin’ your work and awaiting your return to our screens.

Rob Bender at 9:07 pm on March 12th, 2011

Waterstones in Abergavenny now has the paperback version on the main table when you walk in, as part of the three for two, in between Tony Blair and Richard Dawkins. I moved your book so it was closer to the edge of the table, in order that it catches the eye as you walk past.

Really sorry for the double post.

Tom at 9:44 pm on March 12th, 2011

Waterstones in Wolverhampton(!) have the hardback under their Games and Pastimes section and the hardback on the 3 for 2 stand but nowhere else.

Ian at 10:33 pm on March 12th, 2011

Had a look in Waterstones in Liverpool and there was 1 copy in the the indoor games section.  Liverpool apologises!

Colin at 12:38 am on March 13th, 2011

WH Smith, Argyle St, Glasgow - one copy in Biography (now sold)

Waterstones (formerly Dillons) Argyle St, Glasgow - various copies in Biography including some face-out ones in a display and some in the correct alphabetical position

Someone else already covered the Sauchiehall St branches so that’s about it for Glasgow city centre

RomanticRecluse at 2:00 am on March 13th, 2011

I’m with the Robs who worked in retailing (and especially music - the hardest part of the high street).  Even if reclassification is a good idea (and I’m not sure it is) it’s a matter for the publisher and head office and certainly not customers.  Besides, if poker is a sport and the WSOP its Olympics then shouldn’t your book be with those by Olympians?

And wasting the time of or playing hell with shop staff is not on.  I went in a local shop (book in Sport near entrance, not upstairs in Biography) and the staff looked tired and miserable.  My detective work tells me their pay has been frozen, branches are closing, morale is low and if staff blog about how bad the company is they can be sacked.

And you don’t want to know what staff say about customers.

Ray Adam at 2:22 am on March 13th, 2011

VC! Just seen this website having followed you on twitter.
Prior to that followed your career (don’t want to sound like a stalker!!) as have friend in media spotlight (Helen Chamberlain) who also loves Poker.
Then found out who your father was…loved him on Call My Bluff! My father (a journalist) died in 1995 from cancer and since then I’ve found out so much about his life. Whilst working in Fleet Street one of his best friends (his sub editor) decided to leave and attempt to write, I only heard this story last year and turns out this friend was Dennis Potter!!! Think he made right decision! Then found out couple of months ago from my ma that my dad knew the Editor of Punch in early 70’s! I wonder who that was!! Anyway more than happy to find out exactly where ur book is in Surrey xx

Jamie Kirk at 11:34 am on March 13th, 2011

Found (and bought) in Waterstones on Oxford Street.  Was situated on a table of recently released autobiographies nestled between Peter Mandelson and Katie Price…

Marianne at 11:55 am on March 13th, 2011

Not sure if this has been done, but Waterstones Picadilly has the book in New Books, Biography (between Clarkson and Mandelson) AND in Indoor Games. Though fewer copies in Indoor Games than the other sections.

MaryB at 11:56 am on March 13th, 2011

romantic recluse - it’s not wasting the time of shop staff to ask them where a book is!! I work in a bookshop (no names) and I’d much rather be helping customers look for books than just stand there not doing anything (whether they buy the book or not)!

MODERATOR at 11:58 am on March 13th, 2011


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