In all seriousness, though, hats & Sith Lord life-support helmets off to you, Nathan, and the rest of the winners as well. More than well-deserved.
But there's always next year...
As you may have heard (unless you've been stuck on a deserted island for the last five months), Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol came out yesterday. It's already taken the UK by storm (they're in the future, you know) and I'll be updating this post later today with US info and news reports. So far:
• Tesco (a British grocery store/general merchandiser) was selling 19 copies PER MINUTE;
• Asda (a British supermarket) sold 18,000 copies before 4:00 PM;
• Rumor has it that one of the Manhattan major chain stores (just ONE STORE) sold 400 copies by 2:00 PM. By my rough calculation, that's about one copy every minute. Heavens to Murgatroyd.
Now, being an enterprising young man, I've acquired Mine Very Owne Copie of the book and am already a third of the way through it. (The font is huge.) Now, WITHOUT SPOILING ANYTHING AT ALL, I PROMISE, my reaction is as follows:
I once accused Dan Brown of writing the same book twice (Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code). I'd like to formally retract that.
He has written the same book three. Different. Times.
Now, if you really liked those other two books, you'll definitely like this one. I think the writing is better and the pacing is as good as ever. He does have a lot of characters/shadowy organizations/plot points that are annoyingly similar to his previous books, though, and there are times (roughly every other page) where I get the impression he just keeps a giant Crazy Conspiracies Mad-Libs that he fills out every few years and turns into a book. (Maybe that's exactly what he does.) That aside—it's pretty entertaining. To sum it up as only the British can (courtesy of the Guardian link, above):
The Lost Symbol charts similar territory to The Da Vinci Code, with the hero decoding puzzles and going on the run from shadowy forces, this time Freemasons. Some reviewers branded The Lost Symbol "moronic, derivative and clunky" .
Others applauded Brown's ability to give his millions of fans what they want. For the publishing industry, the book's strengths and weaknesses were only being measured in numbers.
And those numbers are going to be intense.
It wouldn't be a true PMN post without a healthy dose of doom, however, so before I go, these parting words (again from the Guardian) and a mini-Prithee-Inform-Me:
Baggaley said it remains questionable whether the soaring sales of Dan Brown books will have a beneficial effect for publishers of other books. "In Tesco this morning the book was on display, not in the book section, but as soon as you walked in, so it is not as if you are going to be drawn into buying other books as well," he said.
I've been warning that books going on-sale around this time will be cannibalized by Dan Brown rather than see a boost from his generating additional foot traffic. Prithee, inform me: do you think the DB phenomenon will increase or decrease the sales of other books in the stores?