HarperCollins Has a Lot Riding on Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on July 14, more than 90 stores nationwide will begin selling Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” to fans who couldn’t wait until the morning. The early store openings, together with hundreds of thousands of promotional items given to retailers in recent months including posters and bookmarks, are part of the big marketing push publisher HarperCollins is counting on to keep “Watchman” on the national best-seller lists through the holiday season.
Sparking store interest has been the easy part. Fans of Ms. Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” are clamoring for her first new book in 55 years. Intrigue around how it came to HarperCollins has added to the buzz. A lawyer for Ms. Lee said she discovered the decades-old manuscript for “Watchman” in 2014, igniting concerns about Ms. Lee’s desire to have it published and her well-being. An Alabama state investigation concluded Ms. Lee was not a victim of elder abuse.
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