Catch-22 was sold to Simon & Schuster, where it had been championed by editor Robert Gottlieb, who, along with Nina Bourne, would edit and oversee the marketing of the book. Gottlieb was a strong advocate for the book along with Peter Schwed and Justin Kaplan. Henry Simon, a vice president at Simon & Schuster, found it repetitive and offensive. The editorial board decided to contract the book when Heller agreed to revisions; he signed for US$1,500 (equivalent to about $13,000 in 2020).
Officially published on October 10, 1961, the hardcover sold for $5.95. The book was not a best-seller in hardcover in the United States. Though twelve thousand copies were sold by Thanksgiving, it never entered the New York Times Bestseller List. It received good notices and was nominated for the National Book Award in March 1962, though Walker Percy's The Moviegoer won. Catch-22 went through four printings in hardcover but sold well on only the East Coast. The book never established itself nationally until it was published in paperback for 75 cents.:224–230
Upon publication in Great Britain, the book became the No. 1 best-seller.:233 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.:238–240
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.:234