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Bantam Pays $3M for 'Dune' Prequels by Herbert's Son
Judy Quinn -- 11/17/97
With a bid believed to be about $1 million a book, Bantam publisher Irwyn Applebaum acquired hard/soft North American rights to a new trilogy of prequels to Dune, Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction classic and one of the bestselling SF novels of all time, with nearly 10 million copies in print. Herbert also had written five sequels to Dune, some of them published as original mass markets, with the last installment, Chapterhouse: Dune, published in hardcover in 1985; a total of five million copies of these books are in print.
The new prequels, set to begin publishing in 1999 and to be released first in hardcover, will be written by Herbert's son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, who has written books in the Star Wars and X-Files series, and will be based on notes and outlines Frank Herbert left at his death in 1986.

Bantam beat out S&S and Putnam, original publishers of the Dune series, for the books, in a deal made by Robert Gottlieb and Matt Bialer of the William Morris Agency and Mary Alice Kier of Cine/Lit Representation.Dune buy comes on the heels of its walking away from the high-stakes bid to acquire tie-in book licenses to the upcoming Star Wars prequels. Ballantine, which already has 55 nonfiction Star Wars titles, as well as 13 million copies of Star Wars novelizations, in print, is now the rights holder of all titles (Bantam had done adult fiction Star Wars titles in hardcover and mass market) related to this new trilogy and will begin publishing books with the release of the movies starting in 1999.

Dune's media tie-in power is less stellar than Star Wars; the 1984 David Lynch film was a box-office disappointment, although it's now a cult and camp classic. Another media boost may arrive soon, however, in the form of a new ABC/Sci-Fi Network miniseries based on all the previous Dune works.
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