Business, Media

Surprise, surprise, new Dan Brown novel tops 2 million mark

By Branko Brkic 22 September 2009

Well, it's official: Dan Brown is a bigger star than Bill Clinton. Far, far, far bigger star.

Doubleday announced Tuesday that hardcover, audio and e-book sales for “The Lost Symbol” topped 2 million copies for its first week of release in the United States, Britain and Canada. The total is “well over” 2 million for English-language editions worldwide, according to Doubleday spokeswoman Suzanne Herz, who declined to offer a specific number. Herz did say that around 5 percent, or 100,000 copies, of “The Lost Symbol” were sold as e-books. Doubleday released the digital edition at the same time as the hardcover despite industry worries that e-sales might take away business from the more expensive paper text.

Amazon.com reported last week that first-day sales for “The Lost Symbol” were higher on its Kindle e-reader than in hard cover. E-books, a fast-growing portion of an otherwise slow market, have been estimated at anywhere between 1 percent to 5 percent of total sales. “The Lost Symbol” didn’t approach the more than 8 million copies that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” sold in the first 24 hours, but the weekly results were an all-time high in North America for Doubleday’s parent company, Random House Inc. Herz said that the previous record holder was Clinton’s memoir, published in 2004. “The Lost Symbol” came out Sept. 15 with an initial print run of 5 million books that was soon raised to 5.6 million.

The book is Brown’s first since “The Da Vinci Code,” an international phenomenon published in 2003. “The Da Vinci Code” has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

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