Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

The Lost Symbol

Posted by Caitie F on September 17, 2009

I have not had a chance to go pick up The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown’s newest novel, but I am going to go get it this weekend. I will do a review of it once I am done, but right now I am not concerned with content, I am more concerned with what this book means for publishing.

It has now been reported it sold one million copies in one day. the most for an adult book in years. As My Friend Amy tweeted “Dan Brown sold a million copies of book in a day. If a million people tuned into a TV episode it would be failure.” That is an interesting comment on books and reading in our culture, but watching a TV show doesn’t cost anything; it doesn’t require for you to even leave your home, so I don’t know if the comparison can even be made.

I would like to know how many people have reserved the book in libraries across the country. I requested a copy at my library two weeks ago and I am number 177, I have a friend that requested it two days ago in another system and she is 279.  It could be that one million more people have it on hold at their libraries.

There are many in publishing who think that Dan Brown’s books are not “good”. They make a lot of money, but the quality is not the best. Sometimes, these people refer to themselves as book snobs. I read three of his books and enjoyed them all. He does a great job of grabbing the reader’s interest; he does short chapters, which makes it more accessible to busy people; and he discusses issues that become topics to discuss, which keeps it in the news and sells even more. Many people also don’t like James Patterson’s books, especially since he now “co-writes” them, but they sell extremely well.

I think this book snobbery should tone down a little. Remember that last great book you found that wasn’t a bestseller, but you thought it was terrific? If it was published by Random House, you partially have Dan Brown to thank for that book. Those top 10% of books that are on the best sellers list, that aren’t always the best books, is what pays for almost everything else. If Oprah picks a book for her book club, the publisher knows it will be able to do more books the next year, or push up the budget of some books that they love, but they didn’t know if they could market it as much as they wanted to.

Amy’s quote from earlier ended with the tag #peoplepleasereadmore, which I agree with completely. If you are a parent, make sure you kids catch you reading for fun (and of course read to/with them), If your significant other doesn’t read much and you do, find something they would love and read it at the same time. Try genres and books that you normally wouldn’t pick up because someone said it was a great read. When you buy a book, read it once, and are done with it, don’t just let it sit on your shelf. If you know you won’t read it again, find a hospital or a charity to donate it to so that other people who don’t have access to books can have the opportunity to read.


3 Responses to “The Lost Symbol”

  1. Jason said

    I think you have a good point about books like Brown’s and Patterson’s – they need to sell well so publishers can put out more books, just like actors need to do blockbusters so they can do indie films for “fun.” The trouble I have is, especially with Patterson moreso than with Brown (mostly because Brown’s only written a handful while Patterson seems to churn out more books a year than a rabbit offspring), the writing simply isn’t good. Yes, it’s great for the publishers, but is just reading ANYTHING really better than reading actual quality? I think that’s what makes the Harry Potter series so special – the books were not only popular as anything, but they were truly quality. I’d rather see more of those than another three dozen poorly written Alex Cross books!

  2. Marc Shaw said

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

  3. […] at such a low price will hurt booksellers though! Where do you think they make most of their money (just like publishers as mentioned in this post)? If they don’t get the money from the big books, they won’t order as many of the books […]

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