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POTTERSTILL

A decade after the “last” book, Harry Potter is back and breaking records again

By Thu-Huong Ha

It’s been nine years almost to the day that millions of kids slammed their books shut on the final chapter of JK Rowling’s wizard epic starring the black-haired orphan-messiah Harry Potter. This week, the series, which sold 450 million copies worldwide, is breaking records again.

On Sunday (July 31) publishers will release the “eighth story,” a script for a play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—Parts I and II. Muggles in the US, UK, and Canada will clutch freshly Pottered pages in numbers rivaled only by, well, the last Harry Potter book.

It is already the most pre-ordered book on Amazon, in print and on Kindle, for the year, reports Publishers Weekly.

Earlier this week, Barnes & Noble reported that Cursed Child is their most pre-ordered book since 2007, when the seventh and supposedly final volume of the series, The Deathly Hallows, was released. Barnes & Noble says that the new text has been No. 1 on their bestseller’s list since February, when Rowling announced the publication. The company expects it to be their bestselling book of the year.

“That’s what’s so extraordinary about this franchise, that the bedlam continues all these years later,” says Daisy Kline, Barnes & Nobles’s vice president of books.

It’s hard to overstate the level of fervor that arises with each release. US publisher Scholastic sold 8.3 million copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, book seven in the series, within 24 hours of its release.

When the last film came out in 2011, it broke box office records. It remains the third biggest world debut in history. In 2003, FedEx delivered 250,000 copies of book five, The Order of the Phoenix, to Amazon customers on day one of the release. Scholastic sold 5 million copies that day.

It’s a little surprising that Cursed Child is doing so well, considering it’s not quite a book, at least not in the sense that we’re used to. The text is actually the rehearsal script for a play by writer Jack Thorne, and focuses on Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus. Rowling and director John Tiffany are co-credited with Thorne as having created the story.

The play premieres in London on July 30, hours before the midnight release of the script. Though the show has been sold out, the play announced yesterday (July 28) that another 250,000 tickets will be released for performances in 2017.