Trade excitement over new Rowling

Trade excitement over new Rowling

Customers have been flocking to bookshops in search of the new J K Rowling, following her unmasking as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling, published under pen name Robert Galbraith.

Little, Brown's David Shelley confirmed to The Bookseller that the publisher had ordered an "immediate reprint" with the number not yet confirmed.

The book is now number one on the Amazon bestseller chart, showing a dispatch estimate of 5 to 9 days.

Waterstones spokesperson Jon Howells said there had been instant demand for the book from customers. "There weren't a lot of copies out there, some shops did have a stock, but they had all gone by the end of the day," he said. "We were on the phone to the publisher first thing yesterday morning talking about reordering, and we hope to have significant stock in the stores by the end of the week." Tanya Harris-Brown at Jaffé and Neale in Chipping Norton said: "We had two people come in yesterday asking for it, and we have tried to restock it but at the moment it's very hard to get hold of."

Harry Wainwright of Oldfield Park Bookshop in Bath said: "The reviews were very good so in fact we'd sold half a dozen before the news broke. But we had a lot of enquiries over the weekend when the whole story came out, and we've now re-ordered 50 which, for a hardback crime novel for a shop our size, is at the top end of expectations."

Darren Hardy, Amazon's books manager, said: "For a title that isn’t even in our top 5,000 to shoot to number one so quickly is almost unheard of. In a matter of hours, The Cuckoo’s Calling went from the lower positions of our chart to the very top and, in the process, established itself as a contender to become one of the biggest selling books of the summer.’"

The "debut", published by Sphere, has attracted five-star reviews on Amazon but ahead of the revelation of its true authorship had sold fewer than 500 copies according to Nielsen BookScan's TCM figures, although these do not capture library, e-book or export sales. A Little, Brown source confirmed UK hardback sales at 1,500.

The Sunday Times revealed the real identity of the author this weekend (14th July) after the newspaper investigated how a debut author could write such an accomplished work. The Harry Potter author told the Sunday Times that she had hoped the true identity behind her pen name would be concealed for longer. “Being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said.  “It has been wonderful to publish without hype and expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

Robert Galbraith and J K Rowling share the same imprint, Sphere, editor Shelley, and agent Neil Blair. Rowling told the Times that Shelley, who edited her first novel for adults The Casual Vacancy, had been "a true partner in crime". The novel features a war veteran turned private investigator called Cormoran Strike.

Blair told The Bookseller that Rowling would continue to write the Strike series under the pen-name, with the second book to be published next year.

The paperback of The Cuckoo's Calling is due to be published in paperback in February 2014.

Meanwhile Orion fiction editor Kate Mills admitted she had turned the book down, calling it "well-written but quiet" and saying it "didn't stand out" for her.

The Casual Vacancy is out in paperback on 18th July.

The Bookseller reviews The Cuckoo's Calling.