Potter magic fuels reorder fever

2 July 2003
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03 July 2003 | Robin Parker

Buyers at supermarkets and bookshops were reordering copies of the new Harry Potter novel within two days of its release after it became the fastest-ever selling book.

A record 1,777,541 copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were sold in the UK within 24 hours of its release at one minute past midnight on 21 June.

Many were pre-ordered and 500,000 went direct to homes.

Online retailer Amazon, which dispatched 1.3 million copies worldwide, set aside a 186,000-square foot warehouse in Milton Keynes just for the books.

It claimed it was "the biggest distribution of any single item in e-commerce history".

Supermarkets Tesco and Asda sold more than 500,000 copies in the first day between them, more than 2.5 times their forecasts.

An Asda spokeswoman said they were in reorder talks with publishers Bloomsbury by the following Monday, several days earlier than expected.

Asda even employed a "sweeping system" in which staff at well-stocked stores took copies on foot or in cars to other stores in the area that had sold out.

A Bloomsbury spokeswoman would not disclose the precise initial print run, believed to be around 13 million copies.

But she said reorders would be met from existing stock and the book was being reprinted "at a huge rate per day".


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