Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mark Twain’s Autobiography Flying Off the Shelves

Deep down inside I knew this would happen, even though my local bookseller was sure there was no need to pre-order the book before its release date (last Monday).  Now, like so many others I am on a waiting list with 30 others who didn't listen to their hearts and will now wait 4 to 6 weeks for a copy as the small university press struggles to meet demand.  I am now on a post-publication list and confident it will be well worth the wait.  From the NYT:
When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.
“It sold right out,” said Kris Kleindienst, an owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, which first ordered 50 copies and has a dozen people on a waiting list. “You would think only completists and scholars would want a book like this. But there’s an enduring love affair with Mark Twain, especially around here. Anybody within a stone’s throw of the Mississippi River has a Twain attachment.”
 Seems the powers-that-be thought it would be of interest to scholars and American Literature students and dismissed fans of his work and life.  Seems they were wrong.

Read the rest HERE.

Should be great for winter reading between other books on the list.

And so it goes.


  1. I never cared much for Mark Twain when I had to read the likes of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Then in late high school I got my hands on a collection of his writings entitled Letters and Papers from the Earth. I then grasped his biting social commentary and he's been a favorite since then.

  2. Sort of put Bush's memoir in perspective doesn't it?

  3. OMG !!!
    I did not know this was so! Thank you for telling me.
    Mr. Twain is one of my favorites. I know now what to ask Santa Claus.


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