For months, publishers of the bestselling British author JK Rowling's latest book had kept its contents under a careful cloak of secrecy. On Wednesday, with less than 24 hours to go before bookstores started selling copies of The Casual Vacancy, extracts were leaked in the US.
Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter children's books, was on course to creating yet more publishing history as bookstores started taking delivery of her first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy - under lock and key to prevent any leakage ahead of sales beginning 8 am on Thursday.
Unexpectedly, however, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Wednesday afternoon that leaked extracts of the book "have emerged." It added that the American media had broken an embargo by publishing reviews of the book on Wednesday. A spokeswoman at the book's UK publisher refused to comment, telling HT, "This has happened in the US."
The contents of the book, expected to be the publishing phenomenon of the year, have been closely guarded ever since the publication announcement in February. The title was announced in April and readers got to see the cover in June.