New Moon was published by Little, Brown in the USA on September 6, 2006 with an initial print run of 100,000 copies. Demand for the book was so high that advance reading copies were being sold on eBay for as high as $380. New Moon immediately rose to the #1 position on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Chapter Books in its second week on the list, displacing popular children's authors such as Christopher Paolini and Markus Zusak, and remained in that spot for eleven weeks. It spent over 47 weeks in total on the list. New Moon also remained on the USA Today Best Seller list for over 150 weeks after entering the list two weeks after its release, later peaking at #1. USA Today ranked it at #29 on its 2007 top-selling books list.
By 2008, Publishers Weekly reported that New Moon had sold 1.5 million copies throughout the USA. In October 2008, the book was ranked #37 on USA Today's "Bestselling Books of Last 15 Years". According to USA Today, the book was also the second biggest-selling book of 2008 behind its prequel, Twilight, and the biggest-selling of 2009, giving the saga the top four positions on the list for two consecutive years. It was also ranked at #27 on the list of biggest-selling books of 2010.
The novel received mostly positive reviews with some critics feeling that it dragged in the middle. Hillias J. Martin of School Library Journal praised the book, saying, "Less streamlined than Twilight yet just as exciting, New Moon will more than feed the bloodthirsty hankerings of fans of the first volume and leave them breathless for the third". Kirkus praised the novel, describing it as "an exciting page turner...This tale of tortured demon lovers entices." Moreover, Cindy Dobrez of Booklist gave New Moon a positive review, stating that Bella's dismay at being ordinary "will strike a chord even among girls who have no desire to be immortal, and like the vampires who watch Bella bleed with "fevered eyes," teens will relish this new adventure and hunger for more". Furthermore, Norah Piehl of Teenreads.com thought that in the middle "the story sometimes drags, and readers may long for the vampires' return", though she believed that "New Moon will leave Meyer's many fans breathless for the sequel, as Bella finally understands everything that will be at stake if she makes the ultimate choice to give up her humanity and live, like the vampires, forever." Anna Limber of About.com echoed Piehl, saying that "the middle section is a little slow" and some aspects of the story were "predictable". However, she gave the book 3.5 stars out of 5 and said that the novel as a whole "has a brooding and melancholy feel to it, capturing well the angst of its teenage characters."
New Moon won the Senior Young Reader's Choice Award in 2009.