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Inferno rages on city shelves

If Robert Langdon is racing from one corner of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio to another to unearth mysterious clues in priceless paintings, the Calcutta reader might soon be doing the same — running from one store to another, looking for the book!

Inferno, Dan Brown’s latest novel featuring Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, is poised to be a sell-out in the city. Rupa Publications, which holds exclusive distribution rights for Inferno in eastern India, says their stock of the hardback is all but over — 5,000 copies cleaned out in less than four days.

“In this category, this could well be a record. We’ve seen greater movement for Chetan Bhagat’s books, but you must remember Inferno is a hardcover, priced at Rs 750,” said Raju Barman of Rupa. He added that Rupa had already received repeat orders from bookstores. The next lot should hit the city by the end of next week.

The bookstores couldn’t be happier with the raging Inferno. Starmark, which had initially ordered 400 copies, sold 200 in three days since Inferno was released worldwide on May 14. The retail chain has placed an order for another 400 copies.

Ditto for Apeejay Oxford Bookstore. “We’ve sold 70 copies in three days and we’ve already placed a re-order for Inferno,” said a spokesperson for the Park Street bookshop.

Sidharth Pansari, the director of Crossword, said sales for Inferno were “good and improving”, even though there wasn’t any marketing blitz before its release. “Compared to a Harry Potter or even Amish’s The Oath of the Vayuputras, the pre-release publicity for Inferno was quite tame. But there were healthy pre-bookings and people who are reading the book are liking it. So, sales are picking up,” said Pansari.

One such happy customer is Shalmali Das, whose mother picked up Inferno from Crossword for her Dan Brown-crazy daughter on Friday. “I am very excited. Reading a Dan Brown novel is an adventure by itself,” gushed the Class IX student of Our Lady Queen of the Missions, Salt Lake.

Many more thriller buffs have embarked upon a similar adventure. “As predicted, the response to Inferno has been phenomenal. We are experiencing good sales across the country and are receiving regular re-orders. A reprint is already in progress and we are continuing to supply more stock across the market,” said Caroline Newbury of Random House India, the publishers.