Catch-22 was sold to Simon & Schuster, where it had been championed by editor Robert Gottlieb, who would edit and oversee the marketing of the book. Nina Bourne also participated in editing the book. Officially published on 10 October 1961, the hardcover sold for $5.95. The book was not a best-seller in hardcover in the United States. Though it sold 12,000 copies by Thanksgiving, it never entered the New York Times Bestseller List. Catch-22 received good notices and was nominated for the National Book Award in March 1962. (Heller lost out to Walker Percy's The Moviegoer.) It went through four printings in hardcover, but only sold well on the East Coast. The book never established itself nationally until it was published in paperback for 75 cents.
Upon publication in Great Britain, the book became the #1 best-seller. Don Fine of Dell Paperbacks bought the paperback reprint rights to Catch-22 for $32,000. Between the paperback's release in September 1962 and April 1963, it sold 1.1 million copies. In August 1962, Donadio brokered the sale of movie rights to Columbia Pictures for $100,000 plus $25,000 to write a treatment or a first draft of a screenplay.