Latest work from author of Twilight vampire saga sells 90,000 copies in one day despite being available for free online

The latest instalment in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga has shot to the top of the UK’s bestseller charts on the strength of just one day in bookshops, becoming one of the fastest-selling books of all time.

Meyer’s The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, told from the perspective of a newly created vampire, was published in the UK at 5.05am on 5 June and went on to sell almost 90,000 copies that day – taking the number one slot “by a hefty margin”, according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan. This is despite Meyer making the book available for free online until 5 July.

Bookshops around the country opened early for teenage fans keen to snap up a copy of the novella as early as possible, with fancy dress, vampire makeovers and quizzes laid on in scenes reminiscent of Harry Potter publication days. “People were queuing at our Milton Keynes branch from 4.30am,” said Waterstone’s spokesman Jon Howells. Copies of the strictly-embargoed book were delivered to Waterstone’s Piccadilly branch in a coffin.

“It’s our fastest-selling book so far this year and it may be the fastest-selling book of the year … it will be pretty tough to beat it,” Howells said. “It’s our biggest book since Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Offering it online for free is a nice touch [but] I don’t think it’s a big deal. Pretty much every Twilight fan will want not just to read it, but also to own it. It’s shaping up to be a big ‘un.”

According to, Meyer’s opening day sales are only trumped by two authors: JK Rowling, whose final Harry Potter novel holds the record with 3.6m copies sold in its first 24 hours, and Dan Brown, whose latest novel, The Solomon Key, sold over half a million copies in its first five days last year. Meyer’s publisher, Little Brown, says it sold a book by the author every two seconds in 2009, with over 100 million copies of her four novels sold worldwide since 2005.

Speaking to fansite The Twilight Saga about her new book, Meyer said that “given all the time in the world and no distractions” she could write a short story for every one of her characters. “Some would turn into novellas and some would turn into novels and some would turn into series,” the author said.

Despite this, she’s not sure she’ll revisit the Twilight world with another “companion story”. “Most of these stories don’t feel as necessary as Bree’s, because Bree’s story affects the central story so directly,” she said. “It was a lot of fun, though.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds