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‘Da Vinci Code’ paperback flying off shelves

Controversies, impending movie help sell 500,000 copies in first week
/ Source: The Associated Press

"The Da Vinci Code" is a smash in paperback, too.

More than 500,000 copies of Dan Brown's historical thriller sold in its first week of paperback release, and an initial printing of 5 million has been upped to 6 million, publisher Anchor Books told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Russell Perreault, vice president and director of publicity for Anchor and Vintage Books, paperback imprints of Random House Inc., said the weekly sales were the highest in memory for a paperback. Anchor/Vintage has issued Bill Clinton's "My Life" and numerous Oprah Winfrey picks, including James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" and Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance."

Brown's book has already sold more than 40 million copies worldwide in hardcover and continues to sell well three years after publication, helped in part by an endless series of controversies, most recently a copyright lawsuit in London.

A decision is expected Friday on the claim by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh that Brown's book "appropriated the architecture" of their 1982 nonfiction work, "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," a best seller thanks in large part to the "Da Vinci" boom.

The "Da Vinci" paperback came out March 28, not because interest in the hardcover had slowed down, but in anticipation of the May 19 film version, starring Tom Hanks.

"We expect `Da Vinci' sales to continue to grow through the release of the movie next month," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

"In addition, the Da Vinci-like titles are doing very well. Books like `Secret Supper,' `The Last Templar,' `The Templar Legacy' and `Labyrinth' are all very popular right now."