Penguin Random House had ordered retailers to keep “The Testaments” strictly secret until its official launch on September 10, but several online customers have already received the highly anticipated novel.
“A very small number of copies” was distributed before “due to an error of the retailer that has now been rectified,” the editor wrote on Twitter.
The Guardian newspaper of Great Britain reported that Amazon made the mistake, which sent around 800 copies earlier to customers in the United States.
The e-commerce giant did not immediately respond to a request for comments from AFP.
Atwood’s follow-up to his highly successful dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” was shortlisted for the Booker award this week.
It is one of the most anticipated sequels of recent times and retailers were under strict embargo not to sell it before its official launch date.
Independent booksellers expressed frustration and asked the publisher to penalize Amazon.
“A reasonable person could argue that a seller should see the consequences of each copy of a foreclosed book they publish before,” tweeted Lexi Beach, owner of the Astoria bookstore in New York.
Penguin Random House said the worldwide launch date is still September 10.
Readers went to Twitter to express their surprise and joy upon receiving the book a week ahead of schedule.
“Blessed be the Testament (may the book open),” wrote one, publishing a photo of herself with the book covering her face.
The plot continues 15 years after “The Handmaid´s Tale”, which takes place in a totalitarian state in the near future that has relegated many women to the role of sex slaves used for procreation.
The adaptation was first broadcast in 2017 and won numerous awards, renewing interest in the book three decades after its release.
MGM Studios and the Hulu streaming platform confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that they are already working on an adaptation of “The Testaments.”