Booksellers are predicting Dan Brown's next Robert Langdon thriller will be a public-pleasing bestseller and will compete with the latest “megasellers” from E L James, Harper Lee and J K Rowling in terms of sales figures.
Brown’s new novel, Origin, announced yesterday (28th September), will be published in the UK under Transworld imprint Bantam Press on 26th September 2017, priced £20. Brown’s UK publisher Bill Scott-Kerr heralded it "another extraordinary event [for the publishing world] to look forward to next year”.
Waterstones said that while a new Dan Brown book was “inevitable”, it was in no doubt readers would be enthusiastic about it. Fiction buyer, Chris White commented: “E L James, Harper Lee and J K Rowling have all released new books over the course of the last year so I guess it was inevitable that a new Dan Brown would appear soon enough to complete the quartet of megasellers. Nobody does thrills, spills and conspiracy theories like Dan Brown and the reading public’s appetite for Origin will, I’m sure, remain as keen as ever.”
Independent bookshops have also greeted the news “with delight”, alongside customers, expecting the title to be an instant bestseller.
Kira Gibson, a bookseller at Chorleywood Bookshop in Rickmansworth, said: "The news that Dan Brown will be publishing a new novel next year was met by delight from staff and customers alike. We of course will be ordering in copies of Origin, I expect it to be a bestseller, following on from his previous novels which have delighted and intrigued so many readers.”
Richard Drake, owner of Drake - The Bookshop, based in Stockton-on-Tees, which this month celebrated one year by expanding into new premises, also predicted it would be "a big hit". He said: "I'm sure it will be a big hit and it will give us a great opportunity to test our shop window dressing skills! Inevitably there will be plenty of bargains in the big chains but it's up to us to be cute about our promotion."
Sarah Rees, owner of Cover to Cover, based in Swansea, agreed independent bookshops would be competing with high discounts from online retailers and supermarkets, but also welcomed the news and anticipated it would sell well, especially since "we haven't had a new one from his in quite some time".
"Us independent bookshops have to bear in mind it will be discounted heavily on Amazon and in supermarkets, but any new book by a bestselling author is great news for booksellers," she said. "It will do well in paperback I imagine if people haven't picked it up as a hardback. But it's great news."
Scope for hosting an event to mark the release of Origin would "depend on what the book is about", she added. There is also great anticipation for Robert Macfarlane's picture book collaboration with illustrator Jackie Morris in 2017, Rees said.
Little has been given away about the plot of the new novel, but the publisher said it would be "in keeping with [Brown's] trademark style", featuring codes, science, religion, history, art and architecture. Transworld added that it would thrust Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon "into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earth-shaking discovery that will answer them".
In total, Dan Brown has sold 16m print books in the UK for £91.7m, according to Nielsen BookScan's Total Consumer Market data, with The Da Vinci Code being his biggest seller with 4.5m copies sold - making it the second bestselling book of all time. His last Robert Langdon title, Inferno (released in 2013), sold 667,518 copies in hardback and 400,231 copies in paperback, with the new movie tie-in of the book reaching the Top 50 this week.
However, sales of his Young Adult (YA) adaptation of The De Vinci Code have so far struggled. Since its release on 8th September, according to Nielsen, it has sold just 141 copies, making just over £1,000, 68 of which were sold this week. In the US, it sold 202 last week.