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This combination of images shows the cover image for “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” by Suzanne Collins and a portrait of the author. (Photo: Todd Plitt/Scholastic via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 last 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% of the print market, reported Wednesday that “Songbirds and Snakes” topped last week’s list with 270,000 copies sold. Collins’ book, a prequel to her previous “Hunger Games” novels, comes 10 years after the author seemingly wrapped up the Dystopian series with “Mockingjay.” The Associated Press in a review praised the new novel, released May 19, as “mesmerizing” and called Collins “a master of building a fascinating world around complex characters.”

More: 5 things to know about ‘Hunger Games’ prequel book ‘Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

The opening 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.

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