Marketing 'The Da Vinci Code'

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG134
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 2003 - 2006
Organization : -
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Europe, USA
Industry : Media, Entertainment, and Gaming

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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An International Bestseller

The novel released in March 2003 with just 85,000 copies, was an instant success, perhaps due to its controversial nature and the word-of-mouth publicity that accompanied its release. In the first week of release itself, it went to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List and remained No. 1 for fourteen consecutive weeks.

It also remained for 39 weeks in the top ten bestsellers list of Publishers Weekly19 for 2003. The publishing company had 53 prints in one year totaling 6.8 million copies.

In 2004, the success of the novel continued and 'The Da Vinci Code' remained for 51 weeks on the top ten bestsellers list of Publishers Weekly for 2004. Moreover, Brown's earlier book 'Angels & Demons' which was also a religious fictional thriller, rose to the bestseller list, riding on the wave of success of 'The Da Vinci Code.' (Refer to Table I for the Publishers Weekly list of longest selling best sellers in 2004).

Each hardcover book was priced at US$ 24.95 and raked in huge profits for the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group20 (Doubleday) and for Brown. Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher, Doubleday, said, "We surely expected to have a huge success, but I don't think anyone dreamed it would become a historic publication." 21

The success also encouraged Doubleday to release 900,000 specially illustrated hardbound version of the novel. In its third year since release, the number of copies sold touched 40 million.

On January 9, 2006, Doubleday announced that from March 28, 2006, five million paperback editions of the novel would be available for sale in US. Doubleday said that the paperback release would serve two purposes -meet continuous requests from customers and fuel the excitement for the motion picture release.

This announcement was significant because Doubleday released the paperback edition as late as three years after the release of the novel's hardcover version -- an uncommon practice in the publishing world. Experts said this spoke volumes about the phenomenal success that 'The Da Vinci Code' had achieved...

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19] Publishers Weekly is a weekly news magazine primarily aimed at publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents.

20] Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group is a leading book publisher in the world founded by Frank Nelson Doubleday in 1897. In 1998 it became a part of Random House Inc.

21] "Two years later, 'Da Vinci Code' still going strong,", March 9, 2005.


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