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New Harper Lee book already million seller

Critics dismissed it as a rough draft for “To Kill a Mockingbird” and readers despaired over an aging, racist Atticus Finch.

But Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” is still a million seller.

HarperCollins announced this week that “Go Set a Watchman” in its combined print, electronic and audio formats has sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S. and Canada, a figure which includes first-week sales and months of pre-orders. The publisher stunned the world in February when it revealed that a second novel was coming from Lee, who had long insisted that “To Kill a Mockingbird” would be her only book.

HarperCollins, where authors have included Michael Crichton and Veronica Roth, is calling “Watchman” its fastest seller in history. Other books have sold much faster: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” published in the U.S. by Scholastic in 2007, sold 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours.

“Watchman” was released July 14 and as of early Monday remains at No. 1 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com, with “Mockingbird” also in the top 10. HarperCollins has increased an initial print run of 2 million copies for “Watchman” to 3.3 million.

“Watchman” was completed before Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Mockingbird,” but is set in the same Alabama community 20 years later. Critics and readers were startled to find the heroic Atticus of “Mockingbird” disparaging blacks and condemning the Supreme Court’s decision to outlaw segregation in public schools.

Questions about the book arose almost immediately after HarperCollins announced it, with Lee scholars noting that “Watchman” was the work of a young and inexperienced author and friends and admirers of the  89-year-old author worrying that the book had been approved without her participation. State officials in Lee’s native Alabama, where she resides in an assisted living facility, met with her and concluded she was alert and able to make decisions about “Watchman,” which Lee attorney Tonja Carter has said she discovered last year.

‘Enhanced’ e-book of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ out

Oprah Winfrey and Tom Brokaw are among the featured commentators for an “enhanced” e-book of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The e-book was released this week by HarperCollins. It also features a 1964 radio interview with Lee, who rarely speaks to the media. The regular e-book for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Lee’s only novel, came out in July. She had been one of the last major authors to withhold electronic rights.

HarperCollins spokeswoman Tina Andreadis says the new “Mockingbird” edition had received 6,500 pre-orders, far more than for the usual “enhanced” book. She says the publisher has sold 80,000 copies of the regular e-book, a figure comparable to print sales. Total worldwide sales exceed 30 million copies since the book’s 1960 release.

Both e-book editions are priced at $8.99.