It usually takes just one new really big seller to ignite book sales and revive the publishing industry fortunes. There has been the "Harry Potter" phenomenon and the "Da Vinci Code" that kept the industry humming over the last few years and brought lots of people to bookstores around the world. Lately, however, the book sales have slowed down. "Harry Potter" has retired and Dan Brown, the author of "Da Vinci Code" has been taking his time to complete the much-anticipated novel about Freemasonry movement and the involvement of the US founding fathers in this movement. Meanwhile, the nation's biggest retailers can barely restrain themselves. "We're constantly asking," Bob Wietrak, vice president of merchandising at Barnes & Noble Inc. told the Wall Street Journal.
So what is its status? It's a mystery as deep as the secrets of the Knights Templar.
"When a major author doesn't deliver, you get down on your knees and pray," says Laurence Kirshbaum, a book agent who heads up LJK Literary Management in New York. "You can't threaten, you can't cajole, you wait."
Back in November 2004, a spokeswoman for Doubleday said the target publishing date for Mr. Brown's next book was 2005, although she noted that "there are no guarantees."
Now, the publisher is hinting that a manuscript is close. "Dan Brown has a very specific release date for the publication of his new book, and when the book is published, his readers will see why," says Stephen Rubin, president of Bertelsmann's Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, whose Doubleday imprint publishes Mr. Brown. Mr. Rubin declined further comment.
Given that the book is likely to deal with the US founding fathers in Freemasons, there is a lot of speculation about the release date. Is it going to be July 4? or Sept 18 when George Washinton led the Masonic parade on Pennsylvania Ave? Or Oct 13 when the White House Foundation was laid?