Hope you had a great Christmas and continue to celebrate the holidays. I spent some time reading a teen series called The Mediator by Meg Cabot, the author of The Princess Diaries, in order to write a review of the latest book for Blogcritics.org (which I still have to write). The mediator is a person who can not only speak to the dead but also has the ability to touch them. I also have two more books to read that are due for reviews so you can guess what I’ll be doing this holiday weekend. But with the end of the year approaching, I thought I’d take a few minutes and check in at TheBookseller.com to see how the world of book publishing fared this past year and found a couple of interesting items to share.
As if J.K. Rowlings hasn’t experienced enough dream-breakthroughs–those that every other writer on the planet has at one time or another dreamed of living–the author’s latest, but still unpublished, book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, rose to the top of Amazon’s list in under 24 hours with pre-orders earlier this year. Her fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, had 420,000 pre-ordered copies in 2003. And did you know that book also sold five million copies in the first 24 hours of its release? I confess I have a standing order for two copies at my favorite Borders store for any new Potter book…I can’t NOT complete the set, can I?
If you haven’t seen one of the many variations of the Da Vinci Code books, then you must have had your head in the sand over the past year for piles and piles of author Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code books can be found throughout the land in bookstores, Wal-Marts, Sam’s and any other retail outlet that has even simply entertained the thought of selling books. To date, Brown has sold 7.3 million copies of his four books (The Da Vinci Code hardcover edition, Angels and Demons paperback, Digital Fortress paperback, Deception Point paperback). If you are among the many who find Browrn’s concept even remotely interesting, try this link to Lisa Shea’s interesting site about the Da Vinci phenomena.
While the success of the latest Harry Potter book is pretty much a given, there was a time–pre-Potter–when the idea that any fantasy book, let alone one for children, would ride the crest of publishing success to such a height that its author would become the first writer to break the billion dollar bank would have been considered a fantasy itself. But for some unknown reason (although I do have a few thoughts of my own), the Potter books not only captured the imagination of children everywhere, they’ve crossed the generational lines and continue to evolve into that coveted realm known as classic children’s literature.
When it comes to storytelling, who would have thought Dan Brown’s idea for the Da Vinci Code would so capture the public’s imagination to the extent of having major news networks compiling hour-length features on the subject? What is even more interesting is that Brown has had to do so little promotion himself, smartly staying in the background and allowing the clamoring media to do the push in his stead. I wonder how much the discussion of Gibson’s The Passion contributed to igniting this fever pitched interest for the Da Vinci Code? While I have read the Potter books, I confess I have yet to read the Da Vinci book; however, I did pick up the special illustrated version and plan to read it next month. And have you heard Brown will have a sequel out: The Solomen Key? Is not that a book destined for success?
Religion and fantasy, not the usual suspects considered for phenomenal publishing success. Who knows what the next wave will bring?