Harry Potter posts spellbinding sales

Final book in the magical series sells 8.3 million copies in first day on shelves, setting new publishing record.

LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- The final book in the Harry Potter series sold an estimated 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours of sale, setting a new record for the book industry, according to U.S. publisher Scholastic.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" went on sale at midnight Friday to the delight of fans, who have been eagerly awaiting the last in the seven-book series about the boy wizard.

Borders Group (Charts), the second-largest U.S. book chain, said it sold about 1.2 million copies of "Deathly Hallows" worldwide on the first day, the highest single-day sales of any title in its history.

That compares to the 850,000 copies Borders sold worldwide when "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the sixth book in the series, hit the shelves in 2005.

Wal-Mart (Charts, Fortune 500) said the final Harry Potter book was selling about twice as fast as the sixth book did during its release.

Retailers anticipating the frenzy began taking pre-order sales well ahead of the book's release. Online retailer Amazon.com (Charts, Fortune 500) said it had pre-sold 2.2 million copies of the book worldwide.

Book store chains in Britain said "Deathly Hallows" looks set to become the fastest selling book ever. UK bookseller Waterstone's said it sold 100,000 copies within the first two hours of the book going on sale, while the WH Smith chain said it sold 15 books a second across Britain.

"Deathly Hallows" has already claimed the No. 1 spot on Barnes and Noble's (Charts, Fortune 500) Top 100 bestsellers of 2007. The top U.S. bookseller said it sold a record 1.8 million copies in the first 48 hours of the book's release.

Scholastic (Charts), which publishes the Potter series in the U.S., published a record 12 million initial copies of "Deathly Hallows."

The release of the final book is expected to trigger sales of other titles in the series by British author J.K. Rowling as well as boost ticket sales for the movie franchise.

More than 325 million books in the Harry Potter series, which has been translated into 64 languages, have been sold around the world. Top of page