Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird Sales Rank Statistics

I have been following these two books on Amazon for the past few months, ever since it was announced that a "new" Harper Lee novel had been discovered, titled "Go Set a watchman". It is the sequel, or perhaps prequel, to "To Kill a Mockingbird", the well loved American classic about 1930s race relations in the deep south.

The graph shows the trend in sales on Amazon for "To Kill a Mockingbird" (the blue line) since the announcement that "Go Set a Watchman" (the red line) was to be published came out, back in February.  That announcement sent To Kill A Mockingbird to number 1, at that time.  As the graph shows, Mockingbird then trended steadily upwards in rank, until about a month ago.  (Note that a larger number for rank actually means fewer sales, so lower on the graph is better.)

Then, pre-orders for Go Set a Watchman  started.  That book steadily began to pick up in rank, and Mockingbird followed along.  Today, July 14, 2015, is the first day that Watchman is officially on sale to the public.  It hit #1 in sales rank and Mockingbird hit #5.

So, it is an interesting case of how the buzz for one book can lift another, older book by the same author.  We will see whether Watchman comes up to people's expectations, and whether it holds onto its ranking.  That won't be easy - for one thing, the well loved Atticus Finch backslides into racism, and that will be hard for people to take.

I read the first chapter of Watchman online.  I thought it was promising - an older Scout is returning home after university, and re-immersing in her pre-university environment, with all the good and bad that entails.  That is something many of us can relate to.  The style of the writing was approachable, though not the same as Mockingbird.

I guess we will all have to decide for ourselves.  The price is pretty steep though - 16 bucks Canadian for the e-book.

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