‘Watchman’ Sales Exceed 1.1 Million Copies in First Week

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Sales of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” have sold more than 1.1 million copies since the book went on sale in the U.S. and Canada on July 14, HarperCollins Publishers said.

The company, part of News Corp., said the novel is the fastest-selling book in its history with 3.3 million copies now in print, according to a statement Monday.

“Go Set a Watchman,” written before Lee’s famous civil rights-era novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” should boost earnings at News Corp.’s publishing division, Barry Lucas, an analyst at Gabelli & Co. in Rye, New York, said in an e-mail.

“The impact will be visible in financial results,” Lucas said. Assuming that at least 2 million copies of the book are sold and it drives sales of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” that will “be noticeable,” he said.

The book revisits Lee’s characters from “Mockingbird,” Scout and her father Atticus, later on in life. It features a surprising plot twist -- Atticus, a white lawyer who battled racial inequality in “Mockingbird,” is now an aging bigot who attends a Ku Klux Klan meeting.

“Upon release, ‘Go Set a Watchman’ immediately jumped to No. 1 on every major book retailer’s bestseller list,” HarperCollins said. The book’s popularity is also helping the publisher sell “Mockingbird,” the second-most bought book on Amazon.com Inc.’s list on Monday, one spot behind “Watchman.”

The 1.1 million copies sold so far include print, e-book and audio formats, HarperCollins said.

News Corp. rose 0.3 percent to $14.85 at 1:58 p.m. in New York. The shares had dropped 5.6 percent through Friday.

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