It's hard to believe, but Scholastic's
According to Amazon.com, preorders for the new book, which started in December, have clocked in at 1.4 million, which trumps the more than 1.3 million preorders the online bookseller had for the fifth installment. Just a little less than a month ago, preorders on Amazon were at a "mere" 560,000. Back in December, when the July release date was announced, I toyed with the idea that after all the publicity about book five, maybe the fervor could die down, but so far, all signs point to continued Potter mania.
The book goes on sale this Saturday as soon as the clock strikes 12. When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, it sold 5 million copies the first day, making it the fastest-selling book ever. The first printing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince consists of 10.8 million copies, which Scholastic describes as "record-breaking."
The fervor has already begun, with some of the recent headlines about the highly secretive book including tales of a few tomes leaking to a handful of stores. In New York, a 9-year-old boy has promised to return the copy he bought after the books were accidentally (and briefly) put on a store's shelves. In Canada, 14 books slipped through the cracks at a grocery store, but a judge ordered that those who prematurely got their hands on copies may not discuss, copy, sell, or even read the book before Saturday's launch.
Regardless of all the hype, it's been clear that there's an important investing angle to such bestsellers, and it seems pretty reasonable to suppose that the major bookstore chains, such as Barnes & Noble
And of course, there's Harry Potter's publisher, Scholastic, which tends to have its ups and downs, with the cycle peaking whenever a new Rowling book has been hot off the presses. That had made for some lumpy quarters.
Even without having read it, I can say there's something a little bit depressing about the sixth book -- there are only seven in the series. Indeed, all things come to an end; if Scholastic shares seem a little sluggish at the moment, despite all the excitement, maybe investors are starting to wonder how the future will look for Scholastic without Harry and his magic.
Amazon is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick -- click here for more information. Meanwhile, though, we have a discussion board for Fools who love to talk about the world of Harry, Hogwarts, and the rest of the gang -- Sirius Black's Muggle Friends .
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned, although she is eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Harry Potter series.