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Jamie Oliver book sales outstrip Nigella's

Jamie Oliver is beating Nigella Lawson in the battle for the best-selling cookbook this Christmas, a retailer said today.

His book, Ministry Of Food, has so far out-sold its rival, Nigella Christmas, by 200,000 copies at Waterstone's.

Last year, Lawson's Nigella Express took the crown, selling more than 600,000 copies to place Jamie At Home in second place.

However, the retailer said Nigella Christmas was a purely festive book whose appeal would strengthen as Christmas Day approached.

Oliver's Channel 4 series to accompany his book has finished, while Lawson's show is airing on BBC2 this week.

Waterstone's cookery buyer Sian Jones said: "Jamie has a seemingly unassailable lead in this Christmas's cookery stakes, and will be looking to take back his king of cookery crown that he last held in 2006 for Cook with Jamie.

"But with her TV show much fresher in the public's minds than Jamie's, and with millions watching it every weeknight this week, she will make up lost ground very quickly."

Waterstone's said Delia Smith's How To Cheat At Cooking currently held the title of best-selling cookery book of the year, with more than 500,000 copies sold in the UK.

Ms Jones said: "Delia's book did amazingly well, especially as it came out very early in the year, but with Jamie Oliver only 100,000 copies behind, and the busiest week of the year to go, his Ministry Of Food is likely to pass her before Christmas.

"Whether Nigella can join him or if he can beat Nigella's incredible sales of last year remains to be seen."