NEW YORK – The numbers are new, the story old: No book has sold like "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
Bloomsbury PLC, the British publisher of J.K. Rowling's fantasy series, announced Monday that the seventh and final volume sold a record 2.65 million copies in the United Kingdom in the first 24 hours. The previous high was for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which sold 2 million in its first day of release, in 2005.
In the United States, Barnes & Noble, Inc. also reported all-time sales, saying Monday that 1.8 million copies were purchased in the first two days, including 560,000 in the first hour, a rate of more than 150 copies per second. The audiobook is a record breaker, too: 225,000 copies in the first two days, according to Random House Audio's Listening Library.
On Sunday, Scholastic Inc. said 8.3 million hardcovers sold in the United States during the first 24 hours, easily breaking the old high of 6.9 million, for "Half-Blood Prince." Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good said plans for increasing the 12 million print run for "Deathly Hallows" were "in discussion."
The frenzy for the new Potter, released Saturday at midnight, carried over to all Potters. Barnes & Noble said that besides "Deathly Hallows," 213,000 copies of other Potter books sold at its stores over the weekend.
On Monday, for a third straight day, seven of the top 10 books on Amazon.com's best seller list were Potters, including paperback and hardcover editions of "Half-Blood Prince" and a boxed set of the entire series coming out in September. On Amazon's children's list, 22 of the top 25 books were Potter books, including the top eight rankings.
Collectors already were looking to cash in. A set of all seven Potters, six of them first editions and two signed by illustrator Mary GrandPre, was being offered on abebooks.com for $2,181. The audiobook for "Deathly Hallows," signed by narrator Jim Dale, had an asking price of $319.80.
The numbers could really soar if anyone tries to sell one of the 1,600 hardcover copies that Rowling signed over the weekend. Last spring, a Rowling-signed first edition of the first Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (renamed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States) was auctioned in London for $56,319.