Morrissey's insistence that his book be published as a Penguin Classic means that it went straight into paperback, making it cheaper than the average price of a hardback release of a celebrity autobiography.
Simon Key of the Big Green Bookshop in north London, which held a midnight opening to mark the book's publication last week, said that paperback binding was unlikely to have made a difference to the purchasing decisions of "obsessive" Morrissey fans.
"It wouldn't have made much difference if was out in hardback. Morrissey fans are obsessives, there are very few people quite as obsessive as Morrissey fans," said Key. "I'm delighted that they've published in paperback. I don't like hardbacks, they make bookselling elitist. It makes it unique, too – a book like this hasn't been done as a Penguin Classic before."
The British musician, who won legions of fans during his heyday as frontman of the Smiths in the 1980s, had first suggested his book be published as a Penguin Classic in an interview on Radio 4's Front Row in 2011. " I can't see why not – a contemporary Penguin Classic," he said. "When you consider what really hits print these days and when you look at the autobiographies and how they are sold, most of it is appalling. It's a publishing event, not a literary event."
Sales of Autobiography were ahead of the first full week's sales for David Jason's My Life, which topped the hardback non-fiction chart, with 27,210 copies. Since records began in 1998, the only other memoir to have shifted more copies in its first week than Autobiography was Kate McCann's Madeleine (2011), which sold 72,500.
A publisher for Autobiography in the US, where Morrissey has a committed following, has yet to be revealed, and the Big Green Bookshop has been asked to ship UK copies out to customers there. The Penguin Classic edition is available in the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries.
"People have been getting in touch by email and Twitter. It is unusual, as an independent London bookshop. We don't generally sell a lot of books in America," Key said.