Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Phoenix Bewitches Readers, Flies off Bookshelves at Lightning Speed
Forget the "witching hour," June 21, 2003 at 12:01 a.m. should be renamed the "wizarding hour" as bookstores around the world opened their doors to deliver the fifth installment of J.K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
, to readers of all ages. The book pulled down records as it was pulled off the shelves, becoming the fastest selling book to date.
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc., who publishes the Potter series, announced 1,777,541 copies of the latest book were sold in the first 24 hours. This number more than quadruples the first-day sales statistics of Phoenix’s predecessor, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
, which held the previous record with 372,775 copies sold its first day.
American Potter publisher, Scholastic Inc., also released enormous first-day sales figures for what is considered to be the largest children’s book ever published. Phoenix weighs 2.2 lbs. and runs a lengthy 870 pages (766 pages in the British edition), encompassing some 255,000 words. Not deterred by its size, Scholastic estimates that 5 million copies of the book were purchased by eager fans in the first 24 hours.
Between the two publishers, 13 million copies of the book were printed before its release and Scholastic has announced that it will print an additional 800,000 copies of the book in order to meet the large demand for the book, bringing their total number of books printed to 9.3 million. The size of the initial printings was seen as unprecedented, but with 192 million of Rowling’s first four books published in 200 countries and 55 languages worldwide, their popularity is hard to deny. One copy of Phoenix
was sold for every 60 people living in the US and UK in the first 24 hours alone, and Barnes and Noble reported they sold nearly 80 copies a second. The British WHSmith chain expects Phoenix
to be ten times more popular than Goblet
. So far, readers are enchanted and critics impressed.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Thousands of New Harry Books Stolen in Late Night Heist
A truck containing more than 7,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
, the fifth installment in J.K. Rowling's series about the boy wizard, was stolen from outside a warehouse in northern England on June 15. The truck was later found, with none of the books. Police are searching the truck for forensic evidence. The books are valued at $220,000. Police threatened to prosecute anyone who handles the Order of the Phoenix
before its official release on June 21. Over 1 million copies have been sold in advance of the release. The English publisher of Rowling's books, Bloomsbury, estimates that on June 21, 31,000 mail carriers will be required to deliver all the books ordered in England alone.
The book opens:
"The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive."
And here's a snippet from later in the book:
"It is time," he said, "for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything."
Kids should consider themselves lucky—they only had to wait three years for the vital information.