Big Read makes a big splash

<p>The BBC Big Read is proving a resounding success for the book world. Danuta Kean reports on its impact so far and on how publishers, booksellers and libraries plan to make the initiative work even harder for them</p><p> The BBC Big Read is already a big success. Two months after the announcement of the Big Read top 100, publishers and retailers are reporting substantial sales increases on featured titles. Public libraries have seen unprecedented interest in reading groups, and anecdotal evidence suggests that borrowing of the top 100 has shot up.</p><p>The Big Read was announced at the start of the year as a follow-up to the BBC's successful search for the Greatest Briton. More than 140,000 people nominated 7,000 titles; from these a list of the most popular 100 titles was compiled, and announced in a television special in May. The top 20 will be revealed in the autumn when the public will vote for Britain's Biggest Read. </p><p>Beyond the broadcast strands of the campaign, the Big Read is also being promoted through the biggest community programme ever undertaken by a broadcaster, focusing in particular on reading groups. A telephone hotline and a website are putting those interested in joining in touch with their local reading groups.</p><p>When the campaign was launched in January, no one doubted that it would have an impact on sales of the featured titles. What no one knew was quite how significant that impact would be. Previously neglected backlist titles such as Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Anya Seton's Katherine have all enjoyed healthy sales increases.</p><p>Penguin, which has 45 titles on the list, reports trade sales increases across all its titles. Gabriel Garc'a M