BEA has its big book: today Crown and the Jean Naggar Literary Agency announced that the sixth and final book of Jean M. Auel's record-breaking, bestselling Earth’s Children series will be published on March 29, 2011. Titled The Land of Painted Caves, the book will be published in both hardcover and e-book editions, and in a rare move, it will be published simultaneously in all territories, in a one-day laydown, orchestrated by Jennifer Weltz and the Naggar Agency, with deals so far in the U.K., Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Norway, Serbia, Spain, and Sweden.

The new book also marks a significant first for the author: The Land of Painted Caves will also be published in an e-book edition, and for the first time, Auel’s entire series will be published in e-book format. Bantam will bring out e-book editions of each of the previous books in advance of the new installment’s March pub date. Brilliance Audio will bring out an audio version as well.

Auel’s groundbreaking Earth’s Children series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, and more than 22 million copies in the U.S. alone. The series began with the classic Clan of Cave Bear (1980). In 1985, the third book in the series, The Mammoth Hunters, was the first hardcover novel to achieve a one million-copy printing. The last installment, The Shelters of Stones, published in 2002, debuted at #1 on 16 international bestseller lists.

Maya Mavjee, president and publisher of Crown, said that Auel’s “millions of fans will be thrilled with this stirring and satisfying finale.”