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Victoria book lovers snap up copies of Go Set a Watchman

Greater Victoria readers are snapping up Go Set a Watchman — today’s global literary sensation.
Books Harper Lee Houston.jpg
Harper Lee fans worldwide stayed up late, awoke early and dashed off during meal breaks to pick up a copy of the year's most anticipated novel, Go Set a Watchman. Among them was Bobby Torbert, seen here at a Barnes & Noble outlet in Houston.

Greater Victoria readers are snapping up Go Set a Watchman — today’s global literary sensation.

The Harper Lee book went on sale internationally this morning, putting an end to months of waiting by readers eager to get their hands on much-anticipated followup to To Kill a Mockingbird.

Munro’s Books, 1108 Government St., and Bolen Books, 111-1644 Hillside Ave., each had close to 80 copies already spoken for. A steady stream of customers have been buying the book, priced at less than $30.

As of mid-morning, Munro’s had 117 books in stock and more on order, said Jessica Walker, a part-owner of the store.

“Over the last two to three weeks, we saw a huge interest ramping up,” she said.

“We are expecting this to probably be our big book of the summer.”

Munro’s downtown location will likely drive sales because thousands of American cruise ship passengers walk into downtown along that route, she said.

One customer bought two copies this morning.

“I think it will be one of those things that people want to get the first printing,” Walker said.

A lot of people are also wanting to read To Kill a Mockingbird again, she said.

Timothy Carlow, event director at Bolen Books, said the store has seen a lot of interest in the new book. The first To Set a Watchman sale took place five minutes after the store opened this morning.

“We’ve got lots and lots of them here,” he said.

Carlow predicts book sales will be strong all through the rest of this year.

The Greater Victoria Public Library has been swamped with interest from readers, who put 285 holds on the book, library spokeswoman Alyssa Polinsky said.

Five versions of the book are available through the library’s branches. It ordered 38 print books, 20 copies of large print books, four compact disc audio books, three e-books to be read on tablets, and three audio e-books. As well, another 25 fast-read regular print books are being distributed today. Holds can not be put on these books and their loan period is shorter.