J.K. Rowling first book for adults is already a best seller after more than one million sales before the book has even been released.
The 512-page novel, The Casual Vacancy, is about an idyllic town ripped apart by a parish council election.
Waterstones has revealed that the book has received the largest number of pre-orders this year while online orders are understood to have already topped more than one million.
The Casual Vacancy has been listed on the Amazon.co.uk bestseller list since the publishing date was announced ‘on the strength of pre-orders alone’.
The recommended retail price for the novel is £20 but many retail outlets are offering discounts with many pricing it at around £10.
The novel will hit shelves on September 27 and book stores are predicting it will start the run of ‘Super Thursday’ release days on the run-up to Christmas.
Jon Howells, spokesman for Waterstones, told The Independent: ‘I think we will see a fantastic level of first day and first weekend sales and after that people will come to it more steadily.
‘A lot of the readers will be interested in what this book can do for them.
‘There was a huge sense of urgency with the Harry Potter books and people wanted to read them quickly so that they would not find out the plot through other mediums, while this is a standalone story.’
The Casual Vacancy begins with the unexpected death of Barry Fairbrother, whose demise in his early 40s leaves a space on the parish council in the fictional West Country village of Pagford.
Little Brown said the new book is a ‘blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising’ novel.
Speaking to the Guardian, J.K. Rowling said she drew on her own experience of surviving on benefits.
She told the newspaper: ‘So many people, certainly people who sit around the cabinet table, say: “Well, it worked for me” or “This is how my father managed it”.
‘The idea that other people might have had such a different life experience that their choices and beliefs and behaviours would be completely different … seems to escape a lot of otherwise intelligent people.
‘The poor are discussed as this homogeneous mash, like porridge … They talk about feckless teenage mothers looking for a council flat. Well, how tragic is it that that’s what someone regards as the height of security or safety?’
Rowling has amassed a fortune estimated to be more than £620 million from her seven Harry Potter books for children, plus all the spin-off rights.
She admits her financial independence has given her the opportunity to now work on whatever she wants and write things the way she wants to write them.
This will be her first novel since her final Potter book was published in 2007.
The books have sold more than 450 million copies and have been translated into 74 languages.