Some readers already have their hands on Margaret Atwood's sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, due out next week, thanks to a slip by Amazon. The company apologized Thursday for a "technical error" after a "small number of customers" received The Testaments days ahead of its Tuesday release date. The Guardian reports some 800 copies of the "heavily embargoed" sequel were mailed in the US, with some recipients boasting of their luck on Twitter. "We value our relationship with authors, agents, and publishers, and regret the difficulties this has caused them and our fellow booksellers," an Amazon rep says, per CNN.
Todd Doughty of publisher Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, said the books were mailed early "due to a retailer error which has now been rectified." It's unclear if Amazon will be punished, but numerous booksellers have demanded that be the case. Bookstores that break an embargo will often start receiving future books on a delayed schedule, per the Guardian, which describes "glowing reviews" for the new novel. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it returns to Gilead while introducing two young women, Daisy and Agnes (read an excerpt here). Atwood has said the book is partially inspired by "the world we've been living in." Hulu and MGM already have plans to bring the book to the screen. (Read more Amazon stories.)