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September 18, 2009

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Dan Brown breaks sales records

THE latest novel from "Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown, "The Lost Symbol," broke one-day sales records, its publisher said.

Readers snapped up over 1 million hardcover copies across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom after it was released on Tuesday, said publisher Knopf Doubleday, a division of Random House.

"We are seeing historic, record-breaking sales across all types of our accounts in North America for 'The Lost Symbol,'" said Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Knopf Doubleday., the world's largest online retailer, called the book its bestselling first-day adult fiction title ever, including pre-orders.

Barnes & Noble said "The Lost Symbol" broke its previous one-day sales record for adult fiction.

The success of the Dan Brown's latest is a boost to publisher Knopf Doubleday and booksellers, which have endured sliding sales in the midst of the recession.

Booksellers have anxiously awaited a popular title that will resonate with readers and fuel the same sort of frenzy seen earlier this decade with the "Harry Potter" series, from author J.K. Rowling.

But the US$25 billion domestic book market has wallowed in a slump in recent years as more readers make their purchases online, or forego books altogether for online games and other forms of media and entertainment.

Now, digital books and electronic reading devices such as Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader are seen as both avenues of growth and sources of competition for traditional media, and publishers and booksellers are scrambling to respond.

The highly anticipated book from Brown comes six years after the release of the American novelist's last book, "The Da Vinci Code." It follows the adventures of Harvard professor Robert Langdon and is set in the secret world of Freemasons in Washington DC.

"The Da Vinci Code" sold 80 million copies worldwide. It was made into a film starring Tom Hanks that grossed more than US$758 million, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

Shares of Amazon closed up US$7.15 to US$90.70 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.


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