With news of Steve Jobs’ passing still fresh, Taiwanese fans of the charismatic Apple co-founder, like their peers in other parts of the world, have taken to online bookstores to pre-order Walter Isaacson’s upcoming biography of their icon, titled Steve Jobs: A Biography, local media reported on Saturday.
Less than 24 hours after pre-orders for the first and only authorized biography of the Apple founder were accepted, orders for the Chinese and English versions had already exceeded 10,000 copies, according to the Commonwealth Publishing Group, which obtained the exclusive rights to publish the book’s Chinese edition using traditional characters.
The pre-orders for the English version have even surpassed those for previous bestseller Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final installment in the series of Harry Potter novels written by British author J. K. Rowling, a Commonwealth executive said.
Commonwealth Publishing Group has decided to release the Chinese edition of Jobs’ biography simultaneously with the English version on Oct. 24, instead of late next month as was originally scheduled.
With Commonwealth’s consent, pre-orders for both English and Chinese editions of the biography began at 1:30pm on Thursday at Books.com.tw, www.kingstone.com.tw, www.bookzone.com.tw and Eslite bookstores.
As of Friday, orders for more than 10,000 copies had been placed with those stores, the publishing company said.
The country’s largest online book store, Books.com.tw, said pre-orders for the Chinese edition, being sold for NT$599, are flowing in at a speed of four copies per minute and pre-orders for the NT$649 English edition are being received at 1.6 copies per minute.
If the trend continues, publishing industry sources said, the Jobs biography is likely to be this year’s bestselling biography in Taiwan.
According to foreign wire service reports, demand for the Jobs biography is extremely high around the globe and the world’s largest online bookstore, Amazon.com, saw a nearly 42,000 percent increase in pre-orders for the book after Jobs passed away.
Foreign news media have cited the author of Jobs’ highly anticipated biography as reporting that Jobs, a notorious workaholic, wanted to publish the tell-all biography mainly to let his children understand “why he wasn’t always there for them.”
“I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs was quoted as saying by Pulitzer Prize nominee Walter Isaacson, when he asked Jobs why he authorized a tell-all biography after living a private, almost ascetic life.
“I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did,” Jobs told Isaacson in their final interview at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California.
Isaacson said he visited Jobs for the last time a few weeks ago and found him curled up in pain in a downstairs bedroom. Jobs had moved there because he was too weak to go up and down stairs, “but his mind was still sharp and his humor vibrant,” Isaacson wrote in an essay on Time.com that will be published in the magazine’s Oct. 17 issue.
The biography is based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs, and scores more with family members, friends, admirers, business rivals, and present and former colleagues, according to the book’s publisher.
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