Lord of the Rings fever shows in book sales and web hits

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    By Summer McCann

    The eagerly anticipated release of the new movie version of “The Lord of the Rings” fuels increased interest in J.R.R. Tolkien books both on campus, and throughout the country.

    “I had always heard of ”The Lord of the Rings” books, but I never really wanted to read them until I saw the commercial for the new movie coming out,” said Erin Sipherd, 21, a senior majoring in recreation management from Auburn, Calif.

    Sipherd is not the only one whose interest in the trilogy was peaked with the publicity surrounding the upcoming film.

    Since New Line Cinemas announced it would be producing a new three-movie version of the beloved book, “The Lord of the Rings,” the Tolkien series has seen a huge increase in popularity and sales.

    “We cannot keep the books in stock. We get more and more in, and they fly of the shelf,” said Maureen Porter, a book-buyer for the BYU bookstore.

    Porter says the bookstore has had trouble keeping the books in stock since the trailers for the film began showing in theaters last April.

    Tolkien”s popular fantasy series, which was originally published in the 1950s, has been translated into 25 different languages. “The Lord of the Rings” has been called the most popular and beloved book of the 20th century.

    “When people started hearing about the movie, the books began showing up on The New York Times best seller list,” said Melissa Galvaith, an employee at a local Provo bookstore.

    “Every shipment we get in has more editions and more versions of Tolkien books in it.”

    New boxed sets of the trilogy, as well as new editions of the books, with covers that tie into the movie, have recently been released.

    The three movies, which are jointly budgeted at $360 million dollars, are highly anticipated by old J.R.R. Tolkien fans, as well as new ones.

    On the first day “The Lord of the Rings” trailer was made available to the public, more then 1.6 million Web browsers downloaded the online promotional.

    This is more then any other marketing trailer in history, including the online trailer for Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace.

    The film will have a tough audience to please, as the “Lord of the Rings” series has such a large and devoted fan base. Dedicated Tolkien readers know every detail and character he created in his fantasy novels.

    “I just hope the movies are as good as the books,” Sipherd said. “Tolkien”s writing is so descriptive and complex, it will be hard for a film maker to capture that.”

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