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'Potter' Countdown Nears End

Tim Donaghy #21 stands on the court during a game between the Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies on December 19, 2005 at FedexForum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Getty Images/Joe Murphy
Conventional wisdom says you would have to put a spell on millions of kids to get them to turn away from movies and games and DVDs. That's the magic of "Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix." And kids won't be able to get it until one minute past midnight.

CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports the book is a bookseller's dream. "Order Of The Phoenix", the fifth installment of J.K. Rowling's fantasy series, is all boxed up and ready to thrill.

The American publisher, Scholastic, has printed 8 million copies in hardcover at $29.99 each.

Barbara Marcus, president of scholastic children's books says, "Harry Potter is a phenomenon unto itself."

And the phenomenon also includes a witch's brew of public relations efforts including midnight bookstore parties, like the ones that preceded the other book releases. They featured long lines of people in costume and an autographed book that the author dedicated to the people of New York and sent, under lock key and camera lights, to the U.S.

In northern England, there was a disturbing bit of magic - thieves made more than 7600 of copies of the book disappear from a warehouse along with a truck.

Inspector John Martin of the Merseyside Police says, "It's a serious crime, a high-value theft, and we'll treat as we would do any crime. We're very keen to get anybody who may have seen it."

In Brooklyn, N.Y., Rowling's spellbinder spawned another mystery, How did some lucky readers get their hands on the book before the official release?

Laura Poyeon, a Harry Potter reader, says, "I said 'Excuse me, you have book number five?' It turns out this little store right around the corner from us - they didn't understand you're not supposed to sell it yet."

Store owner Carlos Aguila, explains, "We had no idea whatsoever that there was even a planned release date. We just put them out there and people got a bit hysterical."

The publisher isn't blaming the storeowner, but no such luck for New York newspaper, The Daily News, which published unauthorized excerpts. In the blink of a wizard's eye, Rowling and her American publishers conjured up a $100 million lawsuit.


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.