Catton’s book attracts unprecedented demand

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Demand for New Zealand author Eleanor Catton’s award-winning book The Luminaries continues to soar, with the Oamaru Public Library eagerly anticipating the arrival of more copies.

Community services librarian Jean Rivett said with a backlog of 10 reserve holds – and a loan period of three weeks – those waiting to borrow the Man Booker award-winning novel would be thrilled when new copies arrived and reduced the waiting time to a week.

“We’ve never seen this kind of demand,” she said.

With two copies in the Oamaru Public Library, one in Hampden, one e-book copy and two more print editions on order, the novel had exceeded the expectations of the publishers, she said.

“I think they were taken by surprise, because the first edition ran out very quickly,” she said.

“As the fiction buyer I can say this is the most copies, of one title, we’ve had in many years.

“We’ll buy one, or sometimes two, but never four.”

Mrs Rivett’s prediction was Eleanor Catton would not be a brief shooting-star of the literary scene, but would be delighting readers for many years to come.

It was only the second time a New Zealander had won the Man Booker prize, and the local literary community was thrilled for her, she said.

“We had a little party to celebrate,” she said.

Oamaru Paper Plus book-buyer Jill Dudley said their store had sold out of copies before Catton won the Man Booker prize, and had been waiting for delivery of a new order of 35 copies.

“Even the distributor’s sales rep hasn’t had a chance to read it yet, there are just no spare copies,” she said.

One customer who was lucky enough to get in early had read it twice and “couldn’t wait to read it a third time,” she said.

By Daniel Stephens