Novels come and go. Most are ignored. A few climb the best sellers lists and quickly descend. A lucky few hover for two or four weeks. The Da Vinci Code, on the other hand, has built a permanent home on top of the lists. Published in April 2003, it is currently #3 on the New York Times best seller list for hardcover fiction. And according to this March 8th article, sales are not slowing down:
Twenty-five million books, in 44 languages, are in print worldwide and no end is in sight. Booksellers expect The Da Vinci Code to remain a bestseller well into 2005. A planned film version by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) should bring in even more readers. And at a time when consumers are supposedly minding their budgets, sales for the $24.95 US hardcover have been so good that Doubleday still has set no date for a paperback.
That means the novel has sold over a million copies per month for nearly two years. So why has it been so successful?
The Da Vinci Code has also thrived during a time when both literary and commercial novels struggled, when a tight economy, competition from other media and election-year tensions drove the public to non-fiction works or away from books altogether. Publishers and booksellers say Brown's novel has worked by combining narrative excitement and provocative - and disputed - historical detail. "It just proves that people want more substance in their books. They like a good, meaty read," says Laurence J. Kirshbaum, chairman of the Time Warner Book Group.
"More substance"? "Meaty"? One Whopper® has more substance and meat than a pile of Coded Craziness—despite the novel being filled with dozens of whoppers. Might I suggest a nutritional, balanced, and healthy alternative?