Booksellers celebrate Spider's Web and Shepherd's Crown releases

Booksellers celebrate Spider's Web and Shepherd's Crown releases

Bookshops are gearing up for a mini Super Thursday today (27th August) following the release of two big hitting titles – the fourth installment of the Millennium series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web (MacLehose Press), and Terry Pratchett’s last book The Shepherd’s Crown (Doubleday Children’s).

Waterstones held midnight openings in London Piccadilly, Oxford and Newcastle for the release of the late, beloved author Pratchett’s 41st and last Discworld novel last night (26th August), in what its SF and Teen buyer Kate McHale has hailed as probably “one of the biggest titles of the year.”

Meanwhile, booksellers are this morning perfecting their window displays of The Girl in Spider’s Web, the fourth installment of the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, written by David Lagercrantz, following a plethora of point of sale materials issued by MacLehose Press.

Goldsboro Books said the title, featuring iconic heroine Lisbeth Salander ,was a “big deal” and would be popular with fans despite being written by a different author to Larsson. Pavla Safratova, bookshop manager at Goldsboro Books, said: “We have sold over 800 preorders of the book – it is a big deal. I think fans will buy it because they will be intrigued and want to compare the book to the original works written by Larsson. However how it will compare, no one knows yet because the book has been under such a strict embargo.

“We are excited about it and I think a lot of people are going to buy it.”

Window display for The Girl in the Spider's Web at Goldsboro Books

Waterstones fiction buyer Chris White said: “It’s certainly a book which will get people talking and of course the big question is whether it measures up to the quality of the original trilogy? I’m interested to see how well Lagercrantz pulls off his act of literary ventriloquism. Regardless, it will be great to curl up in the company of Salander and Blomkvist again and I’m sure many people will feel the same way.”

Ellie Wixon, fiction and biography buyer at Blackwell’s in Edinburgh, said customers would be flooding into the shop to buy it in their droves. “The novel is in conjunction with other Stieg Larsson novels so I think it will be popular with the fans who read the Millennium series,” she said. “The backlist has been reissued with great new jackets and they have been selling really well too. The sales will be really strong for this one as everyone will want to continue the story.” 

Plot details released before the title’s publication revealed that in the book, Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder, whose life is in danger. Balder wants Millennium to publish his story and help him preserve his life’s work by going public. But Blomkvist is more interested in the news that Balder has been working with Salander, who has been trying to hack into the American National Security Agency. It has made her the target of ruthless cyber gangsters who call themselves The Spiders.

As The Bookseller reported last week, publication of the novel has been controversial in Sweden. Global print run for the title is 2.7m and it has a UK r.r.p of £19.99. 

Bookshops are also likely to be heaving today following the publication of Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown – his last book to be published following his death from Alzheimer’s in March this year. 

Wixon said: “We are so excited for the release of the new and last Pratchett. We have been running a three for two promotion on all of his backlist titles since his passing and they are shifting in volume. His last book is going to be huge. We will have it front of store, it will be everywhere. I have seen many more people coming into the stores after he died, asking which was the first book, so I think there are lots of new readers taking him up.” 

Waterstones SF and Teen buyer Kate McHale, added: “We’re hugely excited about it. The final book in such a marvellous and well-loved series is an important, if somewhat bittersweet, moment and there’s no doubt that this will be one of the biggest titles of the year.”

The title has an r.r.p of £20.00. 

Pratchett’s assistant Rob Wilkins has revealed in an afterword in The Shepherd’s Crown that the author was working on at least four new Discworld novels before his death earlier this year. 

Among the notes Pratchett left is the outline for a book concerning “how the old folk of the Twilight Canyons solve the mystery of a missing treasure and defeat the rise of a Dark Lord despite their failing memories” and on “the secret of the crystal cave and the carnivorous plants in the Dark Incontinent,” Wilkins wrote. 

Fans queue at Waterstones Piccadilly for a copy of Pratchett's The Shepherd's Crown.

The Telegraph gave The Shepherd’s Crown five stars. Reviewer Kat Brown said: “This isn’t just a great Discworld book, it’s extraordinary; a proper send-off for Pratchett and this mammoth series. It is shot through with an elegiac tone, you have a sense of it being his own “play’s last scene”. If this wasn’t intentional, it’s a bloody good coincidence.”

In the Guardian AS Byatt said Pratchett wrote “wrote increasingly about worlds in which real harm happens and increasingly about real efforts to prevent it”.

“In The Shepherd’s Crown, which is part of a group of novels claiming to be for “young adults”, evil and anger still take the form of fairy story and myth,” she said. “But the reader experiences them sharply.”

Today also sees the publication of Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food (Michael Joseph) and William Boyd’s Sweet Caress (Bloomsbury).