Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee’s unexpected companion piece to her sole previous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird – has sold 1.1 million copies across print and digital in its first six days on release in the US and Canada alone. After going on sale last Tuesday (14/07/2015), the book became the fastest selling title in the history of HarperCollins, with the publisher saying on Monday morning (20/07/2015) that it had gone back to press for a further 1.3 million copies. With an initial run of 2 million, that puts the total number of copies in print at 3.3 million.
Those first week sales equal those posted by the summer’s other zeitgeist-grabbing title, E.L. James’ Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, upon its late-June publication. The book also smashed one-day sales records at North American chains Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray says of the novel’s performance:
Bringing this book to market has been an amazing effort by thousands of people–from our publishing teams to booksellers large and small. We are thrilled to see readers responding to this historic new work from an iconic author like Harper Lee.
First week totals have not yet been announced for the UK, but first day sales topped 105,000 across print and digital. Random House’s Susan Sandon says: ‘It’s so fabulous to see a book dominating the news agenda and to be reminded of just how important literature and reading is to all of us […] I speak for everyone at Penguin Random House when I say how privileged we are to be part of this piece of publishing history.’
There have also been reports, however, of a printing error with the initial UK run of the book, with several of the first 25,000 copies missing text from their last six pages. The publisher promises replacement copies are being printed and the issue will be resolved ‘swiftly’.