HarperCollins has told booksellers they can sell the new David Walliams title Code Name Bananas early, from today (2nd November), three days ahead of its official publication date, The Bookseller can reveal.
The book is a key autumn title for the publisher, and a strong contender for the top spot in the bestseller charts in the run-up to Christmas, but was not due to be published until Thursday 5th November, the first day of the new lockdown that means bookshops in England cannot open their doors for browsers.
Walliams has published three titles this year so far, two of which were published during the first lockdown. Nevertheless, the books have been huge bestsellers. HarperCollins said in a statement: "We can confirm that, following requests from booksellers, we will be lifting the embargo on sales of David Walliam’s new book Code Name Bananas from today."
James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, told The Bookseller that publishers could rethink their embargoes over the next few days, particularly for those books already shipped to stores ahead of their traditional Thursday release. "It's better that they aren't sitting in boxes," he said.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: "There are three browsing days left for high street bookshops and anything publishers can do to release titles early, logistics willing, is going to encourage customers into shops. In the meantime, this is brilliant news from HarperCollins and Walliams. A new Walliams is always an event for bookshops, and I'm glad high street booksellers will not be deprived of it this year."