Wednesday, June 4, 2008

James Bond smashes sales figures

Devil May Care, the new James Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks, has become Penguin's fastest selling hardback fiction title ever, with 44,093 copies sold in the four days since it hit the shops.

The figures follow a publicity campaign of true Harry Potter proportions, which saw pre-release announcements of Sebastian Faulks's stint as Ian Fleming reaching the news pages of all the major newspapers.

Waterstone's alone sold over 19,000 copies, with the £100 special souvenir edition selling out in one morning. Queues began outside the chain's Piccadilly store from 4.30pm the previous day. A luxury edition, designed by Bentley and costing £750, also sold out its 300-copy print run in under two hours in the UK.

While JK Rowling has regularly exceeded the Devil May Care sales figures - the final book in her Harry Potter series, Deathly Hallows, sold three million copies in its opening weekend - the Rowling is something of an anomaly. Elsewhere, only Terry Pratchett and Martina Cole, genre writers with an enormous loyal fanbase, come close, regularly shifting 30,000-40, 000 copies in the first week. Among literary authors such as Faulks, such figures are unheard of.

Following in the footsteps of Thomas' Harris's Hannibal, published in 1999 and selling 1.5m copies that year, Penguin's success with their new Bond obviously owes a debt to the new lease of life given the Bond film franchise since 2006's Casino Royale.

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