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New Brown mega-seller coming this autumn

4 May 2009

The surprise announcement of a new novel from Dan Brown to be published in the autumn has emphasised yet again the importance of big bestsellers to the book world.

The sequel to The Da Vinci Code is to be called The Lost Symbol and features the same main character, symbiologist Robert Langdon. It takes place over a twelve-hour period. It is six years since The Da Vinci Code was published and Brown has reportedly suffered from writer's block but also been distracted by a major court case relating to suspected plagiarism brought by the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

Toby Bourne, Waterstone's Head of Fiction, said: 'The book is good news because not only is it a guaranteed bestseller, it is one of those books that will bring in people who are not regular bookshop customers.' And it is this appeal to people who are not usually book-buyers which was the secret of Brown's spectacular success with the earlier book.

Dan Brown's books have sold 11.7 million copes and racked up more than £61m ($91m) in sales in the UK alone since he was first published in 2003. The Da Vinci Code was the bestselling hardcover adult novel of all time with 81 million copies in print worldwide. It spent 144 weeks on the New York Times hardback bestseller list and has been translated into 51 languages.

News of another recent big sale illustrates yet again the importance of bestsellers to the book world. Audrey Niffenegger, author of the mega-selling The Time Traveller's Wife, has come up with a second novel which has caused huge excitement and sold for $5m (£3.35m) in the States. Her US editor, Nan Graham, said: 'She really has defied custom and written a spectacular second novel, which is one of the hardest things to do in the universe.' Rather surprisingly perhaps, Her Fearful Symmetry is set in and around Highgate Cemetery in north London and it involves elements of the supernatural rather than the time-travel element of her earlier book.

The book world is immensely cheered by the thought of these two bestselling authors helping to bring customers into bookshops and creating excitement and word-of-mouth enthusiasm for books during the key autumn season.