Readers bought fewer than 700 copies of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s memoirs last week, sales figures show.
The Australian computer expert’s “unauthorised autobiography” was published on Thursday by Edinburgh-based Canongate Books in spite of his efforts to block its release.
Despite huge publicity, the book sold only 644 copies in its first three days in the shops, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Assange’s autobiography was only the 50th best-selling hardback non-fiction book of the week and the 537th best-selling book overall, industry magazine the Bookseller reported.
Canongate played down the significance of the figures, saying it was “a marathon not a sprint”.
The publishers said in a statement: “We never made any big predictions about the sales of the Assange book – particularly on the first three days of sale.
“There was no build up for the book trade, the media or with the reading public.
“But we’re proud of the way we handled what has been a difficult and unusual launch, and we are extremely proud of the book.
“Fortunately, the conversation now seems to be moving away from the ‘publishing story’ and focusing on the quality of the book itself.”
Canongate said early reviews of the memoirs had largely been “very positive” and added that it had secured 10 international publishing deals since last week.
Online retailer Amazon.co.uk ranked it as its 782nd best-selling book and 73rd best-selling biography.
Assange, 40, last week condemned Canongate’s decision to go ahead with publication, saying it was a case of “screwing people over to make a buck”.
The former computer hacker, who is on bail in Britain as he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, made headlines around the world with controversial revelations from secret US military files and diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.