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Fans line up for latest Murakami volume

The last time this Quillblogger recalls fans lining up for a book release there was a teenage wizard involved. Certainly nowhere in North America could readers be expected to queue up for a 602-page instalment of a multi-volume surrealist novel. The same is not true in Japan, however.

The CBC reports that eager fans lined up in the rain before midnight last Friday to pick up the latest volume of Haruki Murakami’s novel 1Q84.

Local TV reports showed readers lined up outside bookstores in the Japanese capital. The reclusive author’s publisher, Shinchosha, said 500,000 copies of the third volume were available on Friday.

The publisher has also decided to print a further 200,000 copies for release later this month, after noting the high level of advance orders.

“I have read all the Murakami novels. I’m addicted to him,” Kiyoshi Takahashi, a 52-year-old financial company manager, told Agence France-Presse.

According to the CBC, the first two volumes of Murakami’s epic, which were published by Shinchosha in May 2009, have reached a combined print run of 2.44 million copies to date. That size run is unheard of in North America for authors not named Dan Brown. The first two volumes of 1Q84 will appear in English in fall 2011. Don’t expect queues at your local Indigo.