'Hunger Games' Prequel Sells 500K Copies in Debut

Courtesy of Scholastic; Lionsgate/Photofest
Donald Sutherland in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2' (2015)

Suzanne Collins' new book, 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,' released May 19, reintroduces readers to the world of Panem and the villainous tyrant President Coriolanus Snow.

A decade after the Hunger Games series had apparently ended, readers were clearly ready for more.

Suzanne Collins' The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes sold more 500,000 copies in its first week, even as many of the country's bookstores were closed or offering limited service because of the coronavirus pandemic. The total includes print, e-books and audiobooks, according to Collins' publisher, Scholastic. 

NPD BookScan, which tracks around 85 percent of the print market, reported Wednesday that Songbirds and Snakes topped last week's list with 270,000 copies sold.

In Collins' The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the author reintroduces readers to the world of Panem and the villainous tyrant President Coriolanus Snow. Only this time, instead of following Katniss Everdeen's journey to take down Snow and the Capitol rule, readers get into the mind of Snow himself. Throughout the 517-page novel, readers are taken on a journey of Snow's former life before he became the feared President of Panem.

The debut for Songbirds and Snakes was slightly higher than the numbers reported for Mockingjay in 2010, when Scholastic announced first-week sales of more than 450,000. Collins' novels, which also include The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and are the basis for a billion-dollar movie franchise.

Like her trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will get the adaptation treatment from Lionsgate, with Collins set to executive produce. "Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m delighted to be returning to them with this new book,” she said in her own statement.