1Q84: Haruki Murakami's New Novel Sells Out Before it Arrives
Japan's most celebrated contemporary author, Haruki Murakami, has yet to release his highly secretive new novel — known only by its title 1Q84, but it has already begun selling out — before it has even hit the shelves.
1Q84's first-pressing has already been bumped up to an initial print run of 480,000 copies and the first few bookstores in Tokyo that began carrying it on Wednesday sold out within hours.
There is no word yet on whether or not the new book will be translated into English.
"It is amazing. People are craving his latest novel," said Takashi Machii, spokesman for the book's publisher Shinchosha, which has raised its first printing to 480,000 copies, up from 380,000 after orders flooded in.
Little is known about Murakami's new book, although the pronounciation of its title 1Q84 — 'ichi kyū hachi yon' — reads as "1984" — alluding to George Orwell's dystopian classic.
In a clever marketing scheme, the contents of his new novel have been kept secret. Fans ordering the book know nothing but the title, "1Q84," which can be read as "1984" in Japanese.
Shinchosha began selling the 1,000-page, two-volume work at a handful of stores in Tokyo on Wednesday. One store sold 840 copies in just one day, it said.
Although the plot and the title's meaning remain a total mystery, Amazon.co.jp has put up a page count, and it's a whopping 1,055 pages. While size isn't everything, it seem to be working in the book's favor; published in two volumes, it currently occupies the top two spots on Amazon Japan's book rankings.