The tome, entitled A Journey, hugely outsold all other books at Waterstone’s yesterday, becoming the chain’s fastest-selling autobiography ever, and shot to the top of Amazon.co.uk’s best-seller list.
The former prime minister’s account of his time in Downing Street sold more copies on its first day of publication than the autobiographies of celebrities and sports stars including David Beckham and Russell Brand, Waterstone’s said.
Rankings on Amazon’s foreign websites show the book has also been a success in the United States, where it is currently the 12th best seller, and Canada, where it is 9th.
But it is proving less popular with readers on the Continent. It is just 366th in Amazon France’s best-seller list, while in Germany it is down in 529th place ahead of its publication there next week.
Waterstone’s, Britain’s biggest bookseller, would not provide precise sales figures but said the book had been a ”stupendous” and ”unprecedented” success.
A spokesman said: ”We’ve never seen a book like this sell so quickly in one day. It was by some way the biggest selling book for Waterstone’s yesterday.
”This is a serious book, a heavyweight political memoir. It’s selling in the sort of numbers you don’t see outside of mass market fiction with huge appeal – Dan Brown and JK Rowling are the competition here.
”We are bowled over. We are immensely pleased with the performance of the book on day one.”
Waterstone’s sold as many copies of A Journey yesterday as they did of former business secretary Lord Mandelson’s memoirs The Third Man in three weeks.
Heavy discounting helped early sales of Mr Blair’s book – it is currently reduced by 50% to £12.50 at Waterstone’s, Amazon and WH Smith.
A Journey is on target to become Amazon.co.uk’s biggest selling memoir of all time, selling more than three times as many copies on its release date as Mr Mandelson’s book.
A signed copy of Mr Blair’s memoirs was already on sale on auction website eBay today with a starting price of £99.99 – but no bids had been made by midday.
The strong early sales bode well for the Royal British Legion, which will receive all Mr Blair’s profits from the book to help fund a new sports centre for injured troops.
A Journey includes revealing anecdotes about the ex-premier’s time in power, ranging from his concerns about the amount he was drinking to his views on his colleagues’ extra-marital affairs.
Much attention has focused on Mr Blair’s detailed account of the rift between himself and Gordon Brown, and his concerns about his chancellor’s fitness to follow him into 10 Downing Street.
Describing Mr Brown as brilliant but ”maddening”, Mr Blair blamed his successor for losing the last election by deviating from the New Labour message.
Published as the first votes were cast in Labour’s leadership contest, the book includes a warning that the party must not to drift to the left if it wants to win the next election.
This article was published in Telegraph.
A Journey will be available at Liberty Books in September. You can email your orders to email@example.com.