Mark Twain’s Autobiography Flying Off the Shelves

Article in the NYT: Mark Twain’s Autobiography Flying Off the Shelves

Excerpt: When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.

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Sure, it's a big book--but it's also unfettered/uncensored Clemens, a manuscript that he didn't want published until the centennial mark, it's been getting very good notices (articles about it, at least) and at $35 it's a bargain. I don't very often buy books, but I'm tempted on this one.

7,500 copies? Really? Half a million eventual sales wouldn't surprise me at all. Unfortunately, given the price, UC Press might not be making a huge killing on this book to support future efforts...but I'm sure they're making some money. That will encourage the Twain Archive to keep doing great work.

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