Friday, August 07, 2009

Transworld set to stir up Dan Brown frenzy
07.08.09 Benedicte Page in The Bookseller

Transworld will whip up a Dan Brown frenzy with a marketing and PR campaign starting a week before global release of The Lost Symbol on 15th September.
The ad campaign, which will run for two weeks from 7th September, is being put together in conjunction with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which releases the DVD and Blu-ray editions of the "Angels and Demons" film on the 14th. It includes backlit high street posters running nationally, as well as giant 48-sheet posters across the UK rail network and on roadsides, and posters on buses in London and Dublin. An extensive TV campaign from Sony will also include The Lost Symbol.
Transworld head of media relations Alison Barrow said: "No-one can be complacent. We in the trade all know the book is coming but there are a huge amount of people out there who don't, so we are whipping up excitement." Barrow added it was "highly unlikely" that publicity-shy Brown would visit the UK.
Transworld is in advanced negotiations with a national newspaper over serialisation, which is to appear shortly before publication. However with the book heavily embargoed until 0.01am on 15th September, review copies are not going out in advance. A night team at Transworld will be on hand to courier copies to journalists at midnight.
Barrow added that delivery of books to shops is being hedged around with "incredibly tight" embargoes and close attention to security. W H Smith would not comment on its launch plans, but a Waterstone's spokesperson said the chain would be following its usual trading hours.
Random House has confirmed it will be publishing an e-book of The Lost Symbol, but details on price and timing remain under wraps.
Commentary by charts editor Philip Stone:
While the trade is hoping Dan Brown will have a knock-on effect on sales, a “Brown bounce” is not necessarily guaranteed. In 2004, when The Da Vinci Code took off, Brown was worth £18.6m to UK retailers, while spending on non-Brown (“underlying”) fiction sales grew 2.9% to £385.8m.
However, in 2005, when Brown was worth £28.2m (or 6.9% of all fiction), underlying fiction sales fell 0.8% year-on-year. In 2006, spending on Brown slumped to £11.5m or just 2.7% of the market but underlying fiction sales surged 7.2% to £410.1m.
And in 2007, when Brown was worth just 0.3% of the market, underlying fiction sales shot up almost 12%. So the data suggests the bigger the Brown, the slower the growth of the rest of the fiction market. Or does it? It is worth noting that last year, when Brown was worth just 0.1% of the market, cash spending on fiction fell 1.3%, hence the lament, “What the market really needs is another Dan Brown!” As the data suggests, it’s a mystery whether it really does.

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