Nearly two decades after its publication by Knopf in 1982, The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley's retelling of the Arthurian legend, is enjoying a new lease on life, thanks to the TNT miniseries that aired earlier this month. Ballantine/Del Rey, which published the trade paper edition in 1984, saw weekly sales triple after May 24, when the entire Mists cast—headed by Anjelica Huston, Joan Allen and Julianna Margulies—appeared on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Publisher and network worked together to promote book and miniseries: TNT provided Del Rey with copies of the program (shown in a continuous loop at Comic-Con, DragonCon and GenCon); posters; postcards; and copies of the Loreena McKennitt CD featuring music from the miniseries. Ballantine sales reps used the materials to help bookstores create displays, with videos offered as prizes. A Mists of Avalon e-mailing went to the 40,000 subscribers to the Del Rey Internet Newsletter and the Ballantine Reader's Circle Newsletter. TNT's ads suggested that everyone "read the Del Rey book"—advice that's brought the trade paperback to more than two million copies in print.
With reporting by Dick Donahue.