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Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2000

Harry Potter sales remain hot

July 27, 2000

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— Boy wizard Harry Potter is still weaving magic in his third week of release, flying off bookstore shelves and Web retailing sites at a steady pace.

The U.S. and British publishers of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the fourth book in the series by British author J.K. Rowling, already have gone back to the presses for additional print runs.

Meanwhile, some readers are already placing orders on Amazon.com's U.K. Web site for the unwritten fifth book in the best-selling series, expected to be released next July.

In Britain, supplies of "Goblet of Fire" have disappeared so quickly since the July 8 release that London-based Bloomsbury publisher of the U.K. edition already is on its 13th reprint, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Bloomsbury has delivered nearly 2.3 million copies to booksellers 800,000 more than the initial print run.

Similarly, the book's U.S. publisher, New York-based Scholastic Inc., has ordered an additional 3 million copies, after having distributed all of its 3.8 million initial print run.

"We have never sold this many books in such a short period of time," said Becky Whidden, manager of The Children's Book Shop in Brookline, Mass. "With most books, we sell only five a week in hardcover."

Amazon.com sold more than 457,000 copies of "Goblet of Fire" as of July 25, spokesman Bill Curry said Wednesday. Of those, 350,000 were ordered prior to the official release more than six times the Web site's previous prepublication record, set by John Grisham's "The Brethren" in March.

Booksellers say the only other books of this magnitude in the children's category are the Potter predecessors, the first of which was published in 1995. The series has sold 35 million copies worldwide, and it holds the top four slots on the newly launched New York Times Children's Hardcover Best Sellers list.

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