Pan Macmillan has launched an exclusive global book club for Ken Follett fans with digital reading platform The Pigeonhole.
Follett will be giving 500 readers early access to his new Kingsbridge novel, A Column of Fire, in the build-up to publication. The book publishes after 10 years have passed since the publication of World Without End, the second instalment in the multi-million bestselling series.
Sales of the series are at 950,125 copies for £7m, through to Nielsen BookScan, while Pan Macmillan said Follett's global sales top 160m books worldwide.
The book club will be one of the biggest pre-release opportunities for fans of Follett to date and the biggest project The Pigeonhole has ever taken on.
Readers for it will be drawn from the winners of a global pre-publication competition, the deadline for which is 18th August according to Pan Macmillan's website. They will then get to read the book in a serialised form and discuss it directly with fellow readers and with Follett himself, who will be answering a selection of comments and questions in real time.
The serialisation will take place over the course of a month, with 15 instalments of 45 minutes reading arriving in the users’ digital bookshelves every other day. The book will be full of "multimedia extras", detailing Follett's research, as well as videos, illustrations and fun facts, to enhance the reading experience.
Founder of The Pigeonhole, Jacob Cockcroft, commented: “In many ways, this partnership is the culmination of a five-year journey: being able to connect one of the world's greatest authors with his super fans on the platform we designed and built is extremely satisfying, but it’s also just the start of what this platform has to offer. A Column of Fire is such a fantastic project and will encapsulate the kinds of unique experiences The Pigeonhole can create. The fact that I’ve been a fan of Ken’s books since my early years just adds to the excitement.”
Pan Macmillan’s head of fiction marketing, Sarah Arratoon, added: “Working with The Pigeonhole to launch Pan Macmillan’s biggest fiction title of the year is a really exciting opportunity. For fans to be able to read the new Kingsbridge novel online with Ken ahead of publication and to ask him questions along the way, it’s a really unique and special experience.”
The serialisation will commence on 24th August in anticipation of the hardback release on 21st September.
An episodic videogame based on Pillars of the Earth, the first in the series, is meanwhile set to be released from Daedalic Entertainment, part of Bastei Lübbe, publishers of the German editions of Follett's books, on 15th August. The 2D "point and click adventure" game will be available digitally worldwide in 10 languages for PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.