At last, "The Da Vinci Code" is coming out in paperback.

Dan Brown's historical thriller was published nearly three years ago and has so sold well, for so long, that publisher Doubleday didn't bother releasing a paperback. But in anticipation of the film version, scheduled for May 19 and starring Tom Hanks, 5 million paperback copies will be published March 28.

"Given the tremendous excitement about the film version of `The Da Vinci Code,' and the requests to have the book in paperback from our customers as well as the consumer, we decided the time was right to release the paperback editions," Doubleday spokeswoman Suzanne Herz said Monday.

March 28 will also mark the paperback debut of the novel's million-selling illustrated edition. Upon the film's release, Doubleday will publish "`The Da Vinci Code' Illustrated Screenplay," featuring introductions by Dan Brown and director Ron Howard.

"The Da Vinci Code" has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. It was No. 2 last weekend on The New York Times' hardcover fiction list.