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'Potter' Pre-Sale Tops 750,000

Barnes & Noble, Inc. announced Monday that pre-orders for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" have topped 750,000 copies, well ahead of the pace of the last Potter book, which came out two years ago.

"The Harry Potter series has shattered all records in publishing history, and the enormous amount of pre-orders to date confirm that the latest Harry Potter title will be the most popular yet," Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio said in a statement. "In fact, we predict that our pre-orders will top one million."

The new Potter book, the sixth in J.K. Rowling's fantasy series, is scheduled to come out July 16 with a first printing of 10.8 million copies. "Half-Blood Prince" has topped the best seller lists of Barnes & and, with only brief interruptions, since its release was announced last December. announced last week that more than 500,000 pre-orders have been taken for the new Potter book.

Shares of Barnes & Noble closed down 18 cents to $38.68 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

By Hillel Italie