NEW YORK – Yes, there are still people who haven't read "The Da Vinci Code." But the number seems to be shrinking.
Dan Brown's international sensation has sold around 1.4 million copies in its first month as a paperback release, a big number for any book and astonishing for a novel that's already sold more than 40 million copies in hardcover.
"There are more than 300 million people in the United States, so we still have a lot of potential sales out there," joked Russell Perreault, vice president and director of publicity for Vintage Books and Anchor Books, paperback imprints of Random House Inc.
Perreault said Tuesday that he expects sales to remain strong thanks largely to the upcoming movie version, starring Tom Hanks and scheduled to come out May 19. "The Da Vinci Code" had an initial paperback printing of 5 million copies, but that was soon raised to 6 million.
Brown's historical thriller came out three years ago and has stayed on best seller lists for much of that time, helped in part by a series of controversies, including religious groups upset by Brown's speculation that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and a well-publicized lawsuit in London.
On April 7, a British court cleared Brown and his publisher of copyright infringement. Authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh had claimed Brown's novel "appropriated the architecture" of their 1982 nonfiction book, "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail."
Interest in Brown's book has been so strong that his publisher didn't bother releasing a paperback until late last month, in anticipation of the movie.