Doubleday has announced that it will be giving away free e-books of Dan Brown's international bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" this week. The free digital download is offered in celebration of the novel's 10th anniversary (to readers only in the U.S. and Canada). "The Da Vinci Code" was originally published March 18, 2003 and quickly sold more than 81 million copies.
The free download isn't exactly a conspiracy, but it is, clearly, part marketing: Besides the best-selling art-historical whodunit, the ebook will include the prologue and first chapter of Brown's forthcoming thriller "Inferno," also featuring renowned symbologist Robert Langdon, which will be published in May. The free e-book deal is a natural digital outgrowth of teasing a sequel by including a first chapter in the back pages of a paperback.
"The landscape of publishing has changed dramatically over the past ten years," Knopf Doubleday Chairman Sonny Mehta said in a release. "The original publication of 'The DaVinci Code' preceded the e-book era. What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this modern classic than by making it available on a multiplicity of platforms and devices while simultaneously offering fans a riveting sample of Dan's latest work."
Doubleday also announced today that Brown will be making a single U.S. appearance in conjunction with "Inferno's" publication. He will speak at the Avery Fisher Hall at New York City's Lincoln Center at 7:30 p.m. May 15, giving a talk titled "An Evening of Codes, Symbols, and Secrets." The venue's event listing suggests that the author will discuss science, religion and film, among other "surprise" topics. Doubleday will live-stream the event to libraries and bookstores nationwide. About 150 such places have signed up for the streams to date, according to the publisher.
In "Inferno," Langdon, the hero of "The Da Vinci Code," "Angels and Demons" and "The Lost Symbol," returns to Europe to tackle a mystery involving the poet Dante Alighieri.
"The Da Vinci Code" e-books can be downloaded free from all major e-book retailers.