Harry sells 20 a second

HARRY Potter mayhem broke out at the weekend as the final chapter set records as the fastest book ever sold.

HARRY Potter mayhem broke out at the weekend as the final chapter set records as the fastest book ever sold.

The seventh instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, flew off the shelves at stores across the region after its midnight launch on Saturday.

A spokesman for supermarket chain Asda, selling the book for £5 instead of the recommended £17,99, said 450,000 copies had been sold between midnight and 4pm yesterday, almost twice as many as the previous Harry Potter book sold on its launch day.

He said the store in Boldon, South Tyneside, had seen some of the chain’s highest sales.

At Borders in the Silverlink retail park at North Tyneside, sales were up 122% on the previous Potter launch night.

The shop held a Potter-themed party and was virtually sold out yesterday.

Operations manager Simon Harrison said more books would be delivered to the store tomorrow.

He said: “It was amazing and like nothing we have ever seen before. We had about 1,200 people attend the launch on Friday night.”

Queues stretched from Waterstone’s in Blackett Street, Newcastle, to Northumberland Street, 200 metres away.

Assistant manager Caroline Dominey said the store was running low on stock yesterday. “We knew it was going to be big because it was the last one – the build-up was amazing.”

Independent trader Claire Grint, who co-owns Cogito Books, in Hexham, Northumberland, set up shop at Hexham Abbey.

Children attending a party entered the building through a mock-up of Harry Potter rail platform 9¾.

She said: “It went beyond our expectations and we sold more than 100 books. As an independent we tend to have one of most titles. To sell over 100 copies of one title in a day is exceptional.”

The first sales figures after publication are likely to be released later this week, but nationally, the picture was every bit as record-breaking as in the North-East.

A spokeswoman for publisher Bloomsbury said it expected first day sales to exceed significantly those of the previous instalment in JK Rowling’s wizardry series, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.

“Last time, we sold two million copies in the first 24 hours,” she said. “We are thinking it might go over three million in the first 24 hours this time.”

Waterstone’s spokesman Jon Howells described the speed at which fans bought the books as unprecedented and said that at the height of the overnight sales, staff were serving 20 customers a second.

“There ain’t nothing like that in book-selling history,” he said.

At midnight, the bookshop chain had more than 250,000 eager Potter-philes at the doors of its 279 participating shops in the UK and sold more than 100,000 copies in the first two hours.

WH Smith opened 400 stores for up to two hours after the midnight launch and said it had sold 15 books a second, beating the previous sales record of 13 books a second held by the previous Rowling volume.


New Potter is another magical read

The Journal’s Rebecca Young reviews Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

IT’S been more than 10 years in the making, but at one minute past midnight on Saturday, July 21, the final instalment of the Harry Potter series went on sale around the world.

As excited as I was to read it, I decided against queuing in the cold to be one of the first to get my hands on a copy.

I took the easy – and substantially more comfortable – option, it was delivered to my home on Saturday morning, enabling me to settle on the sofa to start reading it straight away.

After having the last two books spoilt by people telling me what happens, I was determined to get through the very last one without someone doing the same (rest assured, I will not be revealing anything in this review!)

After a weekend of desperately avoiding the Press and the internet, I succeeded, and was hooked from the first to the last line about the world’s most famous boy wizard.

As expected, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the darkest of the seven books, focusing on Harry’s quest to find and destroy Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes and the inevitable, spectacular showdown between the two.

We discover that some of the characters, including Dumbledore and Snape, aren’t quite what they first seemed and sadly, but inevitably, some are also killed along the way.

Rowling sets her readers up with all the right clues and finally, cleverly reveals the answers to all of their questions.

All in all, I think that the final book in the Harry Potter series is a fantastic read.

It has good and evil, laughter and tears and most importantly, lots of magic.

As for how it all ends… you’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself.


Frenzy with no frontiers

THE worldwide phenomenon that is Harry Potter was confirmed as fans across the globe rushed for copies.

After obtaining a copy in Singapore, Adela Lim, 16, flipped to the end and exclaimed to her friends: "Oh my God! Oh my God! … I can’t wait any more – I just want to find out the ending."

Shops everywhere put the book on sale at the same time – a minute past midnight British time.

Rowling, who created the boy wizard a decade ago, gave a midnight reading in London. She sat in a large wing-backed chair and read the opening pages, describing a mysterious assignation and important news for Voldemort.

Her books about the orphan with the lightning-bolt scar have sold 325 million copies in 64 languages.

Deathly Hallows has a print run of 12 million in the US alone and internet retailer Amazon has taken 2.2 million orders. Tel Aviv’s Steimatzky bookstore defiantly opened at 2am on the Sabbath.

In India, stores threw dawn Harry Potter parties. In Bangkok, British ambassador David Fall was to hand Thailand’s first copy to the first customer at the Emporium Shopping Complex. Cambodia’s sole outlet, in Phnom Penh, expected its 224 to sell in hours.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer