Just after midnight EDT the opening chapter of Harper Lee’s GO SET A WATCHMAN was excerpted simultaneously in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and the Sydney Morning Herald, accounting for the major English-language territories in which the book will be published July 14.
Each outlet also included an audio transcript of Reese Witherspoon reading the opening chapter, which begins: “Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical. Over her breakfast coffee, she watched the last of Georgia’s hills recede and the red earth appear, and with it tin-roofed houses set in the middle of swept yards, and in the yards the inevitable verbena grew, surrounded by whitewashed tires. She grinned when she saw her first TV antenna atop an unpainted Negro house; as they multiplied, her joy rose.”
The WSJ, owned by the same corporate parent as HarperCollins, extended its rollout of the WATCHMAN excerpt with a piece on “global coordination and extreme security measures” to ensure the book did not leak in advance of Tuesday’s publication date, and second piece on what HarperCollins stands to gain on the publication. That one admits the Journal “has been involved in the pre-publication marketing campaign” for the book. Harper ceo Brian Murray says, “Demand from retailers is twice as big as we thought when we signed up the book, and unprecedented in terms of the breadth of accounts ordering very large quantities.” The paper says on pre-orders the hardcover is “outselling the digital edition by two-to-one.”
Harper is printing 2 million copies of the English-language hardcover, and 120,000 copies of their Spanish-language version. Penguin Random House UK benefits from publication, too, though they decline to indicate how they are printing.