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Harry Potter casts new spell
Sixth entry in the boy wizard series, "The Half-Blood Prince," due next July; fans, investors cheer.
December 23, 2004: 12:19 PM EST
The sixth Harry Potter book is due out July 16 in the world's largest English-speaking markets.
The sixth Harry Potter book is due out July 16 in the world's largest English-speaking markets.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Harry Potter fans and investors alike cheered Tuesday when publishers announced that the sixth installment of the boy wizard's saga will hit shelves next summer.

The latest book in author J.K. Rowling's best-selling series will be released on July 16, 2005 in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa simultaneously, Rowling's publishers said.

"'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' takes up the story of Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry... as Voldemort's power and followers are increasing day by day," the publishers, Bloomsbury in Britain and Scholastic in the United States, said in a statement.

Shares of Bloomsbury surged 7 percent on the news while Scholastic (down $0.56 to $36.69, Research) stock jumped 4 percent in morning trading on Nasdaq.

Potter currency converter

The book's suggested retail price will be $29.99 in the United States, Scholastic said.

The author had said previously on her Web site that the Half-Blood Prince of the title is neither Harry nor Voldemort, and that the opening chapter of her latest work has been brewing in her mind for 13 years.

Rowling also had said: "I know you all expected this to happen on Christmas Day, but I was sure that those of you who celebrate Christmas have better things to do on the day itself than fight your way into my study, whereas those of you who don't celebrate Christmas would definitely prefer not to wait until the 25th."

The 2005 publishing date means fans will be spared the long three-year wait between the fourth Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," and the fifth, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which came out in summer 2003.

Rowling, 39, said on her site that she's had the time "needed to tinker with the manuscript to my satisfaction and I am as happy as I have ever been with the end result. I only hope you feel it was worth the wait when you finally read it."

Rowling, who is pregnant with her third child, has told fans that one of her characters will not survive the sixth installment. Though she would not identify the character, she did assure readers that Potter is safe for now.

Rowling has said that her teenage hero will be in the seventh and final book in the series, but would not say whether he will reach adulthood.

Publishing wizardry

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth Harry Potter book, made publishing history by selling 5 million copies within 24 hours of its release on June 21, 2003 -- the fastest-seller ever on the first weekend of publication.

Sales of the Potter books have been phenomenal, even though they have become longer and darker to reflect the protagonist's maturation. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was more than 800 pages long.

All five Harry Potter books -- "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," as well as "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," have all been No. 1 bestsellers in Britain and the U.S., the publishers noted.

The first five books in the series have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide in 62 languages ranging from Gujarati to ancient Greek since the series started in 1997. The first book made its U.S. debut in September 1998.

The books have spun off tons of Potter paraphernalia, including toys, video games, candy, and costumes; and the first three installations have been turned into movies. The films combined raked in more than $2.6 billion at the box office worldwide, according to Hollywood tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

A fourth film is in the works. All four films are from Warner Bros., which like CNN/Money is a unit of Time Warner (down $0.08 to $19.11, Research).  Top of page

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