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This Summer, It’s All About Diana

The Wall Street Journal‘s Jeff Trachtenberg looks at the plethora of books that have something, anything to do with Princess Diana – just as the 10th anniversary of her death approaches. The article focuses primary attention on Tina Brown, as the end result of a seven-figure advance for her take on the princess – THE DIANA CHRONICLES – hits stores on June 12. Doubleday is printing 200,000 copies of the book, Trachtenberg says, deemed a comprehensive biography that promises new insights regarding Diana’s pursuit of Prince Charles, her sad early years and how she used the media to her own ends. Beyond juicy details, Brown says she set out to write a book that examined the princess in a media and social context while discussing the impact of celebrity culture: “Why Diana was important, why she continues to fascinate, and what we should make of her 10 years after her death.”

But some are skeptical that Brown will find success, considering a number of books – let’s not forget Paul Burrell‘s “embargoed” account – didn’t live up to sales expectations. “It’s a gamble for us,” said Vivien Jennings, owner of Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan. “Will there be new information and pictures people haven’t seen before? And will there be so much news coverage that people won’t have to read the book?” Jennings says she has ordered 20 copies of THE DIANA CHRONICLES because those who are interested will want to buy the book immediately. “We can’t miss a sale,” she said. the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Ill., has ordered only two copies, based on weak sales of recent Diana-related titles. “Publicity could save [it] but there isn’t a lot of enthusiasm in the heartland,” said owner Roberta Rubin. One potential bright sign: a customer has already reserved a copy. “Somebody has gotten word, so I’ll buy a few more,” said Rubin.

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