While sifting through the sports
section in my local bookshop the other day it struck me how obvious it was that
there is a total lack of books on Snooker. No biographies, no how to
play books, not even a hilarious collection of Snooker anecdotes!
Golf, as an example has a pile
of books so large that I doubt they could be carried out of the shop in one
trip and the Snooker section was totally bare! I am aware of how popular Golf
is and in all probability it is actually played by more people, but I think
that the amount of T.V. coverage for both pastimes is very similar, maybe even
more for Snooker, so I cant see that it is just a case that Golf is more
There are a few of the modern
players who have biographies available (although my bookshop did not stock
them, they needed to be ordered), but nothing like the amount that was
available a few decades ago.
If we go back a hundred years
or so pretty much all of the top players of that time had books published on
how to play (Billiards at that time of course!)
This was also the case for the
first part of the twentieth century and apart from a lull after the Second
World war when Snooker and Billiards took a decline there have always been
books on our chosen sport.
The nineteen seventies and
eighties saw a huge growth in Snooker and a shed load of books came with that
growth. Almost every player of note from that period produced a book of some
sort, whether it be an instructional book, a biography or even a light-hearted
look at the game.
For the collector of Snooker
books, this period (1970's and 80's) has a huge range and most can be found for
very little money. This is I feel a very underrated area for collecting at the
moment as many serious collectors tend to concentrate their collection around
late nineteenth and early twentieth century Billiard books, dismissing later
books as not worthy of ownership.
This keeps the relatively
modern Snooker books even though many are twenty or thirty years old out of the
double figures as far as the prices are concerned. I think this will not last
for long and soon the prices will rise as more people start to include them in
But I have strayed off the point
somewhat, my question is what has happened in the last ten years or so, why has
so few books been produced by the modern players? Could it be that the top
players of today earn so much money that they cant be bothered with what
might be seen as lucrative book deals? Is it that the modern amateur Snooker
enthusiast does not need a how to play book or has all he needs
from the past publications and so there is no demand for such new literal
Maybe todays players
dont wish to pass on information about their techniques and skills?
Could it be that the new young
players do not have the literal skills to write such a book? Although I think
there are a couple of todays players, (no names!) that would surprise me if
they could produce much more than an X when signing t here name,
Im sure most are articulate enough to put a book together.
In fact even though I have
offered them up none of the above reasons seem feasible to me, so why is it
that today we have so few books available?
If anyone has a more likely
theory I would be happy to hear it.
David Thomas Lyttleton