'The Da Vinci Code's' amazing success
Two years ago this month, Doubleday published a historical thriller with an announced first printing of 85,000 and high hopes that a little-known writer named Dan Brown would catch on with the general public.
"We surely expected to have a huge success, but I don't think anyone dreamed it would become a historic publication," says Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group.
If the "Harry Potter" books stand as the essential popular read for young people, then "The Da Vinci Code" has captured the crown for grown-ups. A word-of-mouth sensation from the moment it came out, Brown's controversial mix of storytelling and speculation remains high on best-seller lists even as it begins its third year since publication.
Twenty-five million books, in 44 languages, are in print worldwide and no end is in sight. Booksellers expect "The Da Vinci Code" to remain a best-seller well into 2005. A planned film version by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard should bring in even more readers. And at a time when consumers are supposedly minding their budgets, sales for the $24.95 hardcover have been so good that Doubleday still has set no date for a paperback .
"It's been our No. 1 fiction book for two years in a row, and I can't remember another time that happened," said Bob Wietrak, vice president of merchandising for Barnes & Noble Inc. "People come into our store all the time and ask for it or ask for books that are like it."
Thanks to "The Da Vinci Code," about the only books that seem able to keep up are Brown's previous novels. "Deception Point," first released in 2001, now has 3.7 million copies in print, according to Simon & Schuster, Brown's previous publisher. "Angels and Demons," published in 2000 and featuring "Da Vinci" protagonist Robert Langdon, has more than 8 million copies in print.
The unprecedented success of "The Da Vinci Code" has been helped by wide access, with the book on sale everywhere from Wal-Mart to airports to supermarkets, often proving more popular than the mass market paperbacks available at the same outlets.
"The Da Vinci Code" has also thrived during a time when both literary and commercial novels struggled, when a tight economy, competition from other media and election-year tensions drove the public to nonfiction works or away from books altogether. Publishers and booksellers say Brown's novel has worked by combining narrative excitement and provocative -- and disputed -- historical detail.
thriller : one that thrills, especially a sensational or suspenseful book, story, play, or movie（惊险读物，恐怖小说）
word-of-mouth : 口头的，口述的
paperback: a book having a flexible paper binding（平装本）