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Last Potter Book Already Setting Records

The final Harry Potter book will have a record-breaking, back-breaking first printing of 12 million copies, Scholastic, Inc., says.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which arrives on store shelves July 21, will have a first run of 12 million copies.

Just how big a deal is that?

Sara Nelson of Publishers Weekly tells The Early Show national correspondent Tracy Smith, "Twelve million is pretty much unprecedented in publishing. I mean, a big, famous novelist that you know well, a John Grisham … might get a 2 million copy first printing."

The old mark was held by the previous Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which was released in 2005 with a first printing of 10.8 million copies and sales of 6.9 million in the first 24 hours.

J.K. Rowling's fantasy series has sold more than 325 million copies worldwide.


Photos: "Harry, Carrie And Garp"
And Rowling says this will definitely be it for the books.

"I will miss it hugely," she says, "but I have always planned seven books, and I planned this particular ending."

There's speculation, adds Smith, that some characters, perhaps even Harry himself, will be killed, about which Rowling remarks, "I understand why an author would kill a character from the point of view of not allowing other writers to continue writing when the original is dead."

There's also another Potter film coming out this summer, when the last book does.

And, for those who somehow don't know about Potter 7, Scholastic plans a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign.

"This is so much more than the publication of a single book," Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic Trade and Book Fairs, told The Associated Press. "It's a true celebration of the Harry Potter movement and of the joy of reading."

The Scholastic campaign is called "There Will Soon Be 7" and will feature a Knight Bus National Tour, stopping at 40 libraries in 10 "major metropolitan areas," and millions of Potter bookmarks, easel backs and tattoos.

Also Wednesday, Scholastic said a $65 "Deluxe" edition of the final Potter, featuring art and illustration and a special slipcase, will have a first printing of 100,000.