Dan Brown novel breaks one-day sales records

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The latest novel from “Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown, “The Lost Symbol,” broke one-day sales records, its publisher and booksellers said.

A woman reads a copy of the newly released book "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown, at a speed reading book launch event in Sydney, September 15, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Readers snapped up over one million hardcover copies across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom after it was released on Tuesday, said publisher Knopf Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc.

“We are seeing historic, record-breaking sales across all types of our accounts in North America for ‘The Lost Symbol,” said Sonny Mehta, editor in chief of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Knopf Doubleday is a division of Random House Inc. Inc, the world’s largest online retailer, called the book its bestselling first-day adult fiction title ever, including pre-orders.

Barnes & Noble Inc said “The Lost Symbol” broke its previous one-day sales record for adult fiction.

The success of the Dan Brown’s latest is a boost to publisher Knopf Doubleday and booksellers, which have endured sliding sales in the midst of the recession.

Booksellers have anxiously awaited a popular title that will resonate with readers and fuel the same sort of frenzy seen earlier this decade with the “Harry Potter” series, from author J.K. Rowling.

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But the $25 billion domestic book market has wallowed in a slump in recent years as more readers make their purchases online, or forego books altogether for online games and other forms of media and entertainment.

Now, digital books and electronic reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle or Sony Corp’s Reader are seen as both avenues of growth and sources of competition for traditional media, and publishers and booksellers are scrambling to respond.

The highly anticipated book from Brown comes six years after the release of the American novelist’s last book “The Da Vinci Code”. It follows the adventures of Harvard professor Robert Langdon and is set in the secret world of Freemasons in Washington D.C.

“The Da Vinci Code” sold 80 million copies worldwide. It was made into a film starring Tom Hanks that grossed more than $758 million, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

Shares of Amazon closed up $7.15 to $90.70 on the Nasdaq. Amazon was upgraded to a “Buy” rating by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which cited a resurgence in e-commerce that would benefit the Seattle-based company.

Barnes & Noble closed up 14 cents to $22.04 and book retailer Borders Group Inc closed up 2 cents to $3.29, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by Carol Bishopric