According to a press release from Martel’s agency, Westwood Creative Artists*, the novel has sold more than 1.5 million copies via its English-language publishers, Canongate in the U.K., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the U.S., and Random House Canada, which published a movie tie-in version of the book under its Vintage Canada imprint.
In an email interview with Canadian Press, Martel recommends reading the book prior to seeing the film. One should start with the original work, he says.
Life of Pi enjoyed an initial sales bump in 2002 after winning the Man Booker Prize. Prior to the film’s release, international sales in all languages were reported to be in excess of nine million copies, with 812,000 copies in Canada alone.
The film is up for 11 Academy Awards, including an adapted screenplay nomination for David Magee.
*Update Feb. 22: A previous version of this post did not mention Westwood Creative Artists.