Thursday, September 29, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's disowned autobiography sells just 644 copies in UK

Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Picture: AFP Source: AFP
THOUGH Julian Assange was at the centre of a media frenzy during the WikiLeaks controversy and his ongoing sex assault case, the former hacker's autobiography has failed to cause a stir, selling only 644 copies in three days on the UK market.

Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography hit bookstores last Thursday. It was ghostwritten by Scottish novelist Andrew O'Hagan and is based on 50 hours of interviews at the Norfolk mansion where the Australian is staying on bail.
The book apparently includes Assange's first direct comments on allegations of rape in Sweden that led to his extradition battle in Britain as well as an admission that he is an autistic "chauvinist pig". It also features scathing diatribes against his former media partners, in which he calls The New York Times and The Guardian "greedy, reckless, damn-them-all bandits" and "lily-livered gits".
Despite the sensational content, The Bookseller reported today that the autobiography was only the 50th bestselling hardcover non-fiction book of the week on the UK market, and only the 537th bestselling book overall, according to Nielsen BookScan data.
The disappointing sales will likely please Assange as he had been trying to stop his British publisher from selling his memoirs since the beginning of the northern summer.
Assange, 40, said in a statement last week, "This book was meant to be about my life's struggle for justice through access to knowledge. It has turned into something else."
He added, "It is a narrative and literary interpretation of a conversation between the writer and me. Although I admire Mr. O'Hagan's writing, this draft was a work in progress. It is entirely uncorrected or fact-checked by me."
Canongate, a small Scottish publisher that beat larger rivals to sign the original deal with Assange last December, insisted that it had not betrayed Assange and was sticking to the terms of their contract.
"On 7 June 2011, with 38 publishing houses around the world committed to releasing the book, Julian told us he wanted to cancel his contract," Canongate said.
"However, he had already signed his advance over to his lawyers to settle his legal bills. We have decided to honour that contract and to publish," the publisher added.
Assange - who sparked controversy and enraged US officials when he published hundreds of thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables on his website WikiLeaks - once had high hopes for his literary endeavour.
In January, he said, "I hope this book will become one of the unifying documents of our generation. In this highly personal work, I explain our global struggle to force a new relationship between the people and their governments."
Read more at The Bookseller.

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