Return of Harper Lee is a 'phenomenon' as bookshops hope for summer sales boom
Published 14/07/2015 | 02:30
Book shops are hoping that the sequel to Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' will prove a summer bestseller.
Stores across the country filled their shelves with 'Go Set A Watchman' overnight ahead of its much anticipated release today.
Several retailers told the Irish Independent that the hype means pre-orders are above well average.
Amazon has also said that the book has become its most pre-ordered title since the final instalment of the Harry Potter series.
Tom Hoban of Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street said the bookshop had received 360 pre-orders for 'Go Set A Watchman' - a high figure for one store.
Hodges Figgis's parent company, Waterstones, says that UK and Ireland presales of 'Watchman' are currently at around 19,000. The bookseller initially set a maximum target of 20,000 presales.
Manager of Chapters Bookstore John Gannon said that pre-sales for its Parnell Street store had exceeded expectations.
And Eason's Head Book Buyer Stephen Boylan said that sales of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' surged by 98pc following the announcement of the new novel, and went up by a further 96pc in the past two weeks.
"We've received a number of pre-sale requests," he said. "The Harper Lee book is our single biggest initial order of the year to date."
Vinny Browne of Charlie Byrne's Bookshop in Galway, called 'Go Set A Watchman' a "phenomenon".
"We have a lot of advance orders," he said, adding that pre-orders exceeded the normal demand.
"There are other phenomena driven by TV. This is different," he said.
The reclusive author wrote 'Go Set A Watchman' in the 1950s - before the release of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 'To Kill A Mockingbird'.
However, the manuscript was only recently rediscovered by Lee's lawyer, who found it in a safety deposit box.
The book tells the story of Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'.
There was controversy as to whether Lee was well enough to give her consent to publish the book. But she recently released a statement, saying: "I'm alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to Watchman."