British readers rush to buy new Murakami book

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Booksellers in Britain were expecting to sell thousands of copies of Japanese author Haruki Murakami's latest novel on Tuesday after some stores held special midnight openings.

Hardback versions of the book, "1Q84", went on sale across Britain and it was in second place in the hardback sales lists on Amazon's British website.

Waterstone's, one of the biggest booksellers, said it expected the "1Q84" trilogy -- volumes one and two have been released in Britain with the third part to follow on October 25 -- to be one of its big sellers at Christmas.

"This will be a massive book for us today and it should be one of the big novels for Christmas," Waterstone's spokesman Jon Howells told AFP.

"It is quite rare for a hardback novel of this kind to sell in the tens of thousands, but we would definitely put this book in that category."

One of Waterstone's central London branches held a "Murakami Mastermind" quiz on Tuesday night for hardcore fans who then got a chance to be one of the first owners.

Specialist bookseller Foyles held a special night dedicated to Murakami at its flagship store in London, complete with Japanese food and readings from the author's books, which it said was well attended.

Foyles has stocked a total of 1,500 copies of a collector's edition of the book in its six shops in Britain.

"It is predicted to be the top hardback fiction title this Christmas," a Foyles spokesman said.

The first book, comprising volumes one and two, are on sale for £20 (23 euros, $31.50) with the second book, volume three, retailing at £14.99.

The book, which has been translated from the Japanese, goes on sale in the United States next week.

© 2011 AFP

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