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Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ Sells 1.1 Million Copies in First Week

Sales include pre-orders for the ”To Kill a Mockingbird“ author’s second novel

“Go Set a Watchman,” the second novel from “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee, has sold a million copies, publisher HarperCollins said Monday.

The book’s portrayal of protagonist Atticus Finch as disparaging blacks and opposing segregation shocked many critics and fans of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The very existence of “Go Set a Watchman” was stunning since the author, now 89, had earlier said the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel would be her only book.

But “Go Set a Watchman,” which was actually written before “To Kill a Mockingbird” and is set 20 years later in the same Alabama community, has sold 1.1 million copies in electronic and print versions since becoming available for pre-orders on July 14. “Watchman” is No. 1 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com, and “Mockingbird” is also in the top 10.

“Watchman,” adapted for a 1962 movie starring Gregory Peck, is the fastest seller ever at HarperCollins, home to authors Veronica Roth and Michael Crichton. But it will not make the list of all-time speedy sellers, which includes 2007’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which sold 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours for Scholastic.

HarperCollins has increased its initial print run of 2 million copies for “Watchman” to 3.3 million.