Blockbuster Week For Publishing

Publication of Several Buzzed-About Books Point To Healthy Sales in a Down Year

This coming week is shaping up to be the hottest, most profitable in publishing history.

It starts out with the publication on Monday, Sept. 14, of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's memoir "True Compass," one of the year's most anticipated books. Buzz about it had been building even before the senator died of brain cancer on Aug. 25.

The book was originally scheduled to come out in 2010, but was moved up to October of this year, then to Sept. 14, in hopes that Kennedy would live to see its publication. The exhaustive coverage of the Kennedy family after his death only served to ignite more interest in it. Preorders have been strong enough to place the book in the top 10 on Amazon.com.

This Week's Bestsellers

The following day, Sept. 15, sees the release of "The Lost Symbol," Dan Brown's third novel about fictional Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. His two previous books, "The DaVinci Code" and "Angels & Demons" have been darlings of the bestseller lists for years.

Published in 2003, "The DaVinci Code" has sold more than 80 million copies and been translated into more than 40 languages. Its popularity brought renewed interest to Brown's first novel, "Angels & Demons," published in 2000. Thanks to Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, film versions of both novels sent book sales soaring again.

Preorders have made this the number one seller on Amazon.com.

On the same day, Doubleday will publish the biography of NFL hero-turned-soldier Pat Tillman, who died in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in 2004. The subject matter alone will bring a good audience, but "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman" is written by Jon Krakauer.

Krakauer previously wrote "In the Wild," the true story of a young man who died on an adventure in the Alaskan wilderness, which Sean Penn turned into an award-winning film.

Finally, on Friday, Oprah Winfrey will announce her first book club selection in more than a year.

Winfrey's most recent pick was David Wroblewski's "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." It was a word-of-mouth hit last summer and became a blockbuster in the fall after Winfrey endorsed it. Her new choice is almost certain to sell hundreds of thousands of books.

  • Mary-Jayne McKay

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