Scholastic Inc., the U.S. publisher of J.K. Rowling's fantasy series, has announced a first printing of 10.8 million copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the largest such printing for a hardcover release in this country.
The previous record holder was "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which came out in 2003 with a first run of 6.8 million.
"We have worked very closely with all of our accounts to anticipate the level of demand for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,"' Scholastic Children's Books president Barbara Marcus said Wednesday in a statement. "Once again, we are hearing from our accounts that the pre-orders are phenomenal."
"Half-Blood Prince" has topped the best seller lists of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com ever since its release was announced in December. To make sure that nobody could miss the book's arrival, Scholastic also announced Wednesday a range of marketing gimmicks, including a Harry Potter crossword puzzle in The New York Times in July, promotional spots on the Times Square billboard, Google ads and video commercials on domestic flights of Continental Airlines and American Airlines.
Bookstores already are planning their traditional parties to mark the midnight, July 16 publication of "Half-Blood Prince," the sixth of seven planned books. Worldwide sales have topped 250 million for the fantasy series, which has been translated into 62 languages.