Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code sequel sets off frenzy of discounting, with copies selling for as little as £5
Alison Flood , guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 15 September 2009
Dan Brown's long-awaited new novel The Lost Symbol, published today, looks likely to spark a discounting war after Asda slashed its price on the £18.99 hardback to just £5.
The book is set to storm to the top of bestseller charts: customers were queuing outside Waterstone's flagship store in Piccadilly this morning from 4am to be the first to get their hands on the novel, while Asda alone is expecting to sell almost 20,000 copies over the next week. With advance pre-orders of at least 35,000 through Amazon.co.uk, sales from these two outlets alone will propel The Lost Symbol to the top of the UK's bestseller lists.
Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code – the last book to feature his "symbologist" hero Robert Langdon, he of the "charcoal turtleneck, Harris Tweed jacket, khakis, and collegiate cordovan loafers" – has sold 5.2m copies in the UK according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan, and more than 80m copies worldwide. It is the UK's bestselling adult paperback novel of all time – followed in second, third and fourth place by Brown's other titles, Angels & Demons, Deception Point and Digital Fortress.
"We expect to sell just under 20,000 copies of The Lost Symbol in the coming week and our customers and colleagues alike are gearing up for one of our biggest bookselling weeks of the year," said Asda's marketing manager for books Dewi Williams.
On the high street, WH Smith is selling the latest adventures of Robert Langdon for £5.99 if £15 is spent on books or stationery, or half price otherwise, while at Waterstone's and Amazon it is also on offer at half-price.
Stores were given strict instructions not to open boxes containing the novel until a minute past midnight on 15 September; Waterstone's press officer Jon Howells was the first person in the UK outside Transworld to receive a copy, at 7.30pm last night. He spent the night reading the book and tweeting his thoughts, finishing at 5am this morning and pronouncing it Brown's "most ambitious yet".