Which brings me to Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) and his upcoming book in the series. The book’s working title was: The Solomon Key. But it will be released on September 15th as The Lost Symbol. This is the third book in the series starring symbologist Robert Langdon.
The initial print run is expected to be 5 million copies - the largest ever in the history of Doubleday/Random House. The book release will come on the heels of the May 15th debut of the movie Angels & Demons, based on Brown’s prequel to The Da Vinci Code.
With an initial print run of 5 million copies, it’s clear Doubleday expects The Lost Symbol to be a mega seller. Brown gets a hefty advance, Doubleday sells books, bookstores sell books, readers buy books.
So where’s the speed bump in this success vehicle? Looks like it’ll be right there in the bookstores, who may turn out to be the losers. In their efforts to get readers back into the stores, they’re discounting The Lost Symbol big time.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Barnes & Noble Inc., the largest bookstore chain in the U.S., began taking pre-orders for the book Monday. It priced the $28.95 title at $17.37 for general readers, a 40% discount. The store's club members will pay only $15.63.Of course, that’s good news for those of us wanting to snag a copy. But not so good for independent booksellers who can’t afford to eat the losses from selling the book at such a deep discount.
At Borders Group Inc., the U.S.'s No. 2 bookstore chain, Kathryn Popoff, vice president of merchandising for adult trade books, indicated that they'll follow suit. "It will be very competitively priced," she said.
The discount competition is especially hard on small stores. One independent bookseller said she expects the discounting will be so intense at price clubs, book chains, and online that she will sell only 50 copies in the first two weeks.I know there are some who feel that if the independents can’t compete, then they should go out of business. Each time one near me disappears, though, I miss it. I miss the owners who intimately know the books and authors, who know their customers and what they like to read, who promote local authors and neighborhood events, who email you when a book comes in that they think you’ll like, who greet you by name.
And I’ll miss the midlist authors who can’t get the publicity push that Brown is getting. And who won’t get anywhere near the sales. And who face being dropped from a publisher’s list in favor of Tori Spelling or Britney Spears or the Goo Goo Dolls.