Little, Brown had ordered an initial run of 50,000, which is big for a first-time novel; the total now is up to 225,000 copies (Sebold's first book sold fewer than 11,000 copies). In West Hollywood, an advance copy that arrived at Book Soup months ago still is being passed on from employee to employee, said Jennifer Ramos, the store's publicity director. "The story itself, when you're trying to describe it, you open it up by saying a girl is murdered, and it would turn people off. It's really one of those things where, by reading it, it captures you."
The buzz is just that, said Sebold, a kind of ephemeral bubble. "I mean, any early reviews are great," she said, "and they're very confirming for me, but the [general] readers are the ones who will either like the book or not like the book."