Harry Potter

"Harry Potter Sets Online Book Sales Record"
Amazon.com Has Sold Nearly 400,000 Copies Worldwide

(Reuters, July 7, 2000)

LONDON (July 7) - Harry Potter's latest wizard adventure has become the biggest seller in the history of online book sales, Amazon.Co.UK said on Friday.
``The customer response we have seen for 'Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire' is outstanding,'' a spokesman said as London staff worked through the night to get orders ready for shipping before Saturday's publication date.
One in 150 children in Britain have pre-ordered a copy and the spokesman said, ``Nearly 400,000 copies have been sold worldwide by Amazon, making it the biggest selling book in e-tailing history.''
The schoolboy wizard is to take a long, hard look at death in the latest saga -- and the children of the world can hardly wait.
For Scottish author J.K. Rowling has captured young imaginations around the globe with her tales of a geeky teenager's adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The first three Harry Potter books sold 30 million copies and have been translated into 31 languages.
Harry has graced the front of Time Magazine, spent up to 100 weeks in the New York Times bestseller list and is going to star in a Hollywood film -- up to 40,000 hopefuls applying to be the celluloid Potter.
He has even been banished from one English school because his magical powers go against the teachings of the bible.
Young readers will have plenty to enjoy in the latest book -- Edinburgh-based Joanne Rowling wrote up to 10 hours a day so she could finish the latest saga which, at 640 pages, is one of the longest children's books ever written.
``I was shocked to see how long it was,'' she confessed after the magnum opus was complete. ``It is the central book. It is pivotal in every sense. I had to get it right.''
And in a pre-publication interview with The Times last month she confirmed that her young readers would have to grapple with the death of one of the main characters.
``This is the book in which the deaths start -- I always planned it this way. It has become a bit of an 'idee fixe' with me. I have to follow it just the way I wanted to write it and no one is going to knock me off course.''
Forcefully defending the book, she said: ``If it is done right, I think it will be upsetting but it is not going to be damaging.''
So much of the teenage wizard's life is interwoven with her own. The Potters were the family who lived four doors from her when Rowling was a child. Aunt Marge is based on her grandmother who infinitely preferred her dogs to her human relatives.
And Rowling, garlanded with literary awards and hailed for reviving children's zest for reading, will never forget the day when Harry made it into a Peanuts cartoon: ``It was my finest hour.''