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Literary multi-tasking

Yahoo! News peers into the short-term future of American book offerings and sees that at least four mystery/thriller titles with conflicts revolving around the Catholic Church will be released in the early months of 2006. With initial print runs of copycat books in the hundreds of thousands, publishers are poised to continue their exploitation of the popularity of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, a novel that has sold to date 25-million copies and whose film adaptation is forthcoming.

Writers are also getting into the act. Mitch Hoffman, senior editor of Dutton, an imprint of Penguin U.S.A., “says he has received more proposals invoking The Da Vinci Code — averaging at least one a week — than the total number of books he releases in a given year.”

This shouldn’t be at all surprising; what’s more interesting, in light of readers’ waning interest in fiction, is Hoffman’s prediction that the fact-filled novel will continue to be popular after Da Vinci fever has died down. “I think people want to learn things from their fiction books and will continue to look for that,” he says. “So the next big thing in fiction will again be fact based, but different from The Da Vinci Code.”

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