14.09.09 Catherine Neilan in The Bookseller
Waterstone's is aiming to have the first person outside of its publisher Random House to read Dan Brown's latest novel The Lost Symbol. Jon Howells, national press officer for the book chain, is receiving a copy of the book at 7.30pm today and will Twitter about the book overnight from a Piccadilly hotel.
Borders has hired the six-times World Champion Speed Reader Anne Jones to read the book in its Islington branch. Jones will be start reading the book as the store opens at 8am. Borders is opening the majority of its stores at least an hour earlier than usual.
Howells will spend the night in a Piccadilly hotel in a race to finish the book by the time the store opens at 7.00am on the launch day (Tuesday 15th September). "I am very excited about being the first person to read The Lost Symbol. I know it is a long novel but Dan Brown writes incredibly unputdownable books so I am confident I can finish it in time," he said. Howells will give updates on his progress throughout the night via Waterstone's Twitter feed, although he promised there would be "no spoilers".
Waterstone's is going head-to-head with Borders for the long-awaited release of Dan Brown's new novel, with the chains running special events and offers to entice customers. Waterstone's flagship Piccadilly store is opening at 7am on 15th September - two hours earlier than usual - to sell what the only signed copies of the UK edition.
Waterstone’s Fiction Buyer Janine Cook claimed the signed copies would become "instant collector's items", adding that a signed first edition of Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code can be sold for "well over £2,000 on the internet". She added the launch was "the book event of the year".
Borders said Jones read the last Harry Potter book in "47 minutes and 1 second - so she's fast!"