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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
US paperback release for Da Vinci
The Da Vinci Code
The paperback cover uses the same artwork as the film poster
Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code is to be released in paperback in the US for the first time.

The book has sold 40 million copies worldwide - including 12 million hardback versions in the US alone - since it was released three years ago.

The paperback version, with an initial print run of five million, will go on sale on Tuesday.

It is released the same day as Brown's courtroom rival Michael Baigent's new book, The Jesus Papers, is published.

Film poster

Baigent and his former co-author Richard Leigh claim Brown lifted much of his Da Vinci Code plot from their 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and are suing publishers Random House.

Both books explore the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a child and that the bloodline survives.

It has been subject of a hearing at London's High Court, and the judge's ruling is expected during April.

Baigent's book, full title The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History, is marketed as non-fiction and has an initial print run of 150,000.

The Da Vinci Code is being released with a cover that uses the same image as the poster promoting the film version.

The film, starring Tom Hanks as Dr Robert Langdon and directed by Ron Howard, will open the Cannes film festival on 17 May, two days before it is released worldwide.

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