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Frenzy Over 'Phoenix'

The wait is almost over. As any kid can tell you, the fifth book in the "Harry Potter" series comes out this weekend.

It's called "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," and at nearly 900 pages, it is the young wizard's longest adventure yet.

The Early Show National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman looks at all the Harry hoopla.

"Harry Potter Fever" is hitting record temperatures at So many online shoppers are expecting delivery on Saturday - you could call this the "PRE-order of the Phoenix."

Bill Carr, is the company's director of books, music, video, says, it has been very crazy lately. "We have more than 660,000 pre-orders we've taken for 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' in the U.S. and more than one million worldwide."

From the West End of London to the West Side of Manhattan to the West Coast of the United States, bookstores are counting on huge sales.

Like many other stores nationwide, "All for Kids Books" in Seattle, Wash., will start selling the fifth Harry Potter book at the stroke of midnight Friday night. There'll be a Harry Potter Party with hundreds expected to attend.

So what is it about Harry Potter that kids seem to love? All for Kids Book's owner says, "He's magical. He's their age. He's their contemporary. He is the boy's Cinderella figure who is never properly treated until he becomes at home at Hogwarts."

Most kids at the bookstore said they have read the Harry Potter books more than once. And they all raised their hands to show they were all planning to be there when the new book comes out.

One girl noted her mother would be happy to be at the party as well. "My mom likes Harry Potter a little bit, too, and she wants us to all be at the party with her, too," she says.

As for reading the book, kids say it is going to be sad when they get to the end.

One boy noted, "You're, like, 'This is going to take a long time,' at the beginning. Then, before it ends, you're, like, 'No, don't end!'"

At almost 900-pages, it'll take some magic for the average muggle to reach the end.

If you live in New York City, you could win a copy. The Saturday Early Show
is giving the book away to kids dressed as their favorite Harry Potter character. Fifteen winners will be selected.

So try your luck. On June 21, at 7:00 a.m., stop by the CBS studio located at the Trump International Building on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.

Very few people at the publisher (Scholastic) have even seen the book thus far and booksellers have been ordered to keep the books boxed until right before they officially go on sale. But maintaining control hasn't been a foolproof effort.

Earlier this week, thieves in Northern England made off with a tractor trailer containing 7,680 copies of the new book. And on Wednesday, The Daily News in New York City ran an excerpt and plot summary after getting a copy of the book when a Brooklyn health-food store owner mistakenly put the four copies he received early out for sale.

The paper was hit with a $100 million lawsuit by Rowling who said was upset that it spoiled the surprise for the children.

Though secrecy is important, Thom Geier of Entertainment Weekly magazine notes, "It did not give away the ending. The secret is safe." And says such news reports would only help the book sell. "We saw this with Hillary Clinton's memoir," he adds.

In a larger context ,Geier says that the fact that more and more kids are reading could not come at a better time for book stores, "They've seen a horrible year."

Here are some numbers Entertainment Weekly published surrounding the Potter fever:

  • "192 million: estimated worldwide sales of the four previous Potter books
  • 8.5 million: number of first-print copies of 'Phoenix' set to go on sale June 21
  • $3 - 5 million: amount spent by marketing Muggles on publicity of 'Phoenix'
  • 1.3 million: approximate population of Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Approximately 462,800: total number of words in the previous four Potter books combined
  • Over 255,000: total numbers of words in 'Phoenix'
  • 180,568: total numbers of words in the King James version of the New Testament
  • $740: cost of hiring a Potter impersonator from UK-based A-List Lookalikes & Entertainments LTD. for four hours
  • 504: rank (in U.S.) of Harry as a baby name for 2002
  • 306: total numbers of EW articles since 1999 that mention Harry Potter
  • 180: hours of community service Brit Donald Parfitt was sentenced to after stealing (and attempting to sell) pages of the 'Phoenix' manuscript
  • 26.5: hours it takes to listen to Jim Dale's audio rendition of 'Phoenix,' due June 21.
  • 2: years until 'Phoenix' might be seen in theaters.
  • 2:1 odds that actor Daniel Radcliffe will be shaving by then"