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There's something about Harry
The latest Potter book won't hit stores until July 16, but by then everyone may already own a copy.
July 8, 2005: 5:19 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - J.K. Rowling's latest book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" goes on sale at the stroke of midnight, July 16th, but if pre-orders are any indication, nearly everyone who wants one will already own a copy.

Scholastic (Research) planned an initial printing of 10.8 million copies for Rowling's sixth book, the largest first printing of any book in publishing history. That's up from 8.5 million for the fifth Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which was released on June 21, 2003.

"The Order of the Phoenix" previously held the record for biggest first printing, according to the publisher.

Pre-orders for "The Half-Blood Prince" are also breaking records at Barnes & Noble, Inc. (Research) and (Research).

Barnes & Noble announced on June 20 that pre-orders for the new "The Half-Blood Prince" totaled more than 750,000 at its store and on its Web site, and it expects that number to reach more than 1 million by the time the book goes on sale.

The bookseller said the sixth book is far ahead of the pace for the last book, but declined to give comparable data.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be the best selling pre-order book in publishing history," Steve Riggio, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble, said at the time.

Pre-orders for the sixth Harry Potter book surpassed 780,000 on Amazon, according to Amazon's Harry Potter Meter -- an hourly ticker on the site that counts orders placed to date for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

The online retailer said it received more orders for the newest installment than for any book in the past 12 months.

In 2003, more than 789,000 copies of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" were ordered at -- more than twice the advance orders received for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which was the site's previous largest new product release.

A release of a new Potter book has become not just a business but a cultural event.

Millions line up to buy. News reports focus on the devoted, the merchandise, the movies, and the plot twists and turns of the new book.

And there's always the sport of tallying up how much richer Rowling can become. Her last novel put her net worth higher than the Queen of England's, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

The latest Potter book should boost sales for but can it lift the stock out of its funk? Click here.

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J.K. Rowling
Barnes & Noble Incorporated
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