|Scholastic said it set a record-breaking 10.8 million first printing of the sixth Harry Potter book, expected to be released on July 16.|
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
The publishers of the Harry Potter series are expecting a record-breaking performance from the sixth book, which hits stores in July.
Publisher Scholastic (Research) announced Wednesday that author J.K. Rowling's 672-page "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" will have a U.S. record-breaking first printing of 10.8 million copies, and a multimillion dollar marketing campaign to support the highly anticipated release at midnight July 16.
"We have worked very closely with all of our accounts to anticipate the level of demand for 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,'" Barbara Marcus, president of Scholastic Children's Books, said in a statement.
"Once again, we are hearing from our accounts that the pre-orders are phenomenal and, taking into account Harry Potter's record-breaking history, we are doing our best to make sure that Harry Potter fans nationwide can get their copies on July 16th."
According to Scholastic, which holds the U.S. publishing rights for the Potter series, the fastest-selling book in history -- "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" -- Rowling's fifth Harry Potter book, was released June 21, 2003, with a first printing of 6.8 million.
That book sold five million copies in the first 24 hours. 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 been No. 1 bestsellers in the United States, Britain and around the world.
London-based Bloomsbury, the U.K. publisher of Harry Potter, said Wednesday it expects a better-than-forecast profit target of £20 million ($37.5 million) for 2005 compared with £16.4 million last year, with pre-orders for the sixth installment of the boy wizard's adventure higher than forecast.
As the release of the new Potter book gets closer, Scholastic is gearing up for a marketing blitz based on the theme "Who Will Be the Half-Blood Prince?" It will appear as video spots on airplanes, electronic billboards, national radio spots, online and in print media nationwide.
If that's not enough, a unique crossword puzzle entirely devoted to Harry Potter will run in The New York Times on Sunday, July 10, Scholastic said. Beginning with the midnight release and continuing through July 23, Harry Potter will command the Times Square Billboard in New York City with special five-minute promotional spots at midnight followed by 15-second spots every hour that week.
As with the release of previous Harry Potter books, several retailers are expected to host midnight parties for fans, Marcus said.
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