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Make Way For Bridget
-- 6/8/98
Viking is hoping to follow in the bestselling footsteps of British publisher Picador with its newest fiction title, Bridget Jones's Diary by journalist Helen Fielding, which was published on June 1; early reports look very promising. To get the buzz going, the house declared pub date "Bridget Jones Day," during which Viking staff and sales reps traveled to bookstores around the country, bringing posters, mobiles, easels (with a May 4 Newsweek article headed "The Bridget Invasion") and more goodies. Stops were also made to selected media outlets with extra copies of the books; also, early copies went to booksellers on their way to BEA for "suggested airplane reading." Within days, some retailers were already listing the book among their top sellers and the reprinting activity was frenetic. The first printing of 38,000 copies was rapidly supplemented with six additional printings, taking the total to 84,000 (Viking also has 20,000 jackets in reserve). This week, Fielding begins her two-week book tour to New York, Boston, D.C., Chicago, Denver, S.F. and L.A. National broadcast appearances include Today, CBS This Morning and Charlie Rose. Viking still has a way to go to match British numbers: the Picador book has been on the bestseller charts in the U.K. for 48 weeks and counting -- and has been in the #1 spot for about six months of that impressive run -- with sales of more than 900,000 copies. The only other Picador title ever to sell more is One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, with sales a bit over one million copies. Bridget Jones's Diary is already in 20 foreign editions and in February, it won the British Book Award. Fielding's delightful character would simply note, "v.g."

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