Barnes & Noble and Book-A-Million have both pronounced that Go Set a Watchman had the largest first day sale of any adult fiction book in the history of both retailers. B&N noted that Watchman sales topped those of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol which held the title of fastest first day sale since its release in 2009. The book also knocked E.L. James’ Grey off of the top of B&N’s bestsellers list and the company expects that Watchman will be its biggest seller for the year. “Go Set a Watchman has proven to be one of the most exciting publishing events in our history,” said Mary Amicucci, v-p of adult trade and children’s books. “We could not be more pleased to see customers of all ages from across the country flocking to our stores to get their copy of Go Set a Watchman.”
BAM’s CEO Terry Finley said Watchman sales were “beyond our most optimistic projections.” Finley said demand was strong nationally and extremely strong in the Deep South. “We’ve already placed a substantial reorder with Harper,” Finley said.
Amazon couldn’t provide new sales figures but a spokesperson repeated the company’s earlier announcement that Watchman “was the most pre-ordered print title since the 2007 release of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” As of Thursday morning, Watchman was #1 on both the Amazon's Books and Kindle bestsellers list.
Watchman sold 105,000 first-day copies in the U.K., but HarperCollins's U.S. division declined to reveal first day sales in the States.
In Canada, Indigo reported that Watchman’s first-day sales were impressive. “Much to our great pleasure, Go Set a Watchman is shaping up to provide the biggest first-day sales of the past three years, exceeding those of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades series, Steve Jobs, Chris Hadfield, and Bobby Orr just to name a few,” said Bahram Olfati, Indigo’s senior vice-president, print.
In independent stores across Canada, there was also quite a bit of buzz around Watchman. At Munro’s Books in Victoria, B.C., operations manager Ian Cochran said the store ordered more than 150 copies of the book, selling nearly 100 of those on Tuesday. At McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, Manitoba, inventory manager Chris Hall described demand for Watchman as “pretty amazing,” selling out of their stock of more than 100 books on Tuesday. “There is some reluctance to reading the book, but that has obviously been overwhelmed by the number of people eager to do so,” said Hall. “Demand has surprised me a bit. I didn't think this would play out quite as well as it has.”
This story was updated Thursday morning.