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Harry Potter to Break Record

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Scholastic, the global children’s publishing and media company, announced that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will have a U.S. record-breaking first printing of 10.8 million copies.

It will also have a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to support the highly anticipated release at midnight on July 16th. The comprehensive marketing plan for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which officially kicks-off on April 7th marking the “100 Day Countdown to Harry,” includes: a multi-tiered national advertising campaign; a first-time ever Harry Potter crossword puzzle in The New York Times; online activities and downloadables; promotional giveaways; and midnight parties at retail locations across the country.

In making the announcement of the unprecedented first printing, Barbara Marcus, President of Scholastic Children’s Books, said: “We have worked very closely with all of our accounts to anticipate the level of demand for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Once again, we are hearing from our accounts that the pre-orders are phenomenal and, taking into account Harry Potter’s record-breaking history, we are doing our best to make sure that Harry Potter fans nationwide can get their copies on July 16th.”

The national advertising components of Scholastic’s marketing campaign for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, based on the theme: “Who Will Be the Half-Blood Prince?” will appear as video spots on airplanes and electronic billboards, as national radio spots, online, and in print media nationwide. A unique crossword puzzle entirely devoted to Harry Potter – a first time ever component of a children’s book marketing campaign – will run in The New York Times on Sunday, July 10th reaching 3.5 million readers. Also in July, approximately 50,000 domestic flights on Continental Airlines and American Airlines will feature 30-second and one-minute video ads. Beginning with the midnight release and continuing through July 23rd, Harry Potter will once again command the Times Square Billboard in New York City with special 5 minute promotional spots at midnight followed by 15-second spots every hour that week for a total of 10 million impressions. In addition, Scholastic will run national radio spots and Google banner ads.

National retail promotions are already underway with the launch of the “While You are Waiting for Harry Potter” countdown campaign. In March, retailers nationwide received oversized bookmarks and brochures featuring Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on one side while the other side features Scholastic fantasy titles to read while fans are waiting for the new Harry Potter. In May, Scholastic will ship 40,000 Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince five foot tall countdown clock standees to retailers across the country, as well as 5.5 million lightening-bolt temporary tattoos to hand out to fans at their midnight parties.

Marcus added, “As with previous Harry Potter books, thousands of retailers will be hosting exciting midnight parties for fans, and we are working closely with stores across the country to help them plan their events.”

Scholastic extends its marketing campaign online and features a unique “100 Days Until Harry” downloadable countdown clock which will include days, hours, minutes, seconds and a Harry Potter “fact of the day” for each of the 100 days leading up to publication. The site will also include a Shrieking Shack poll which invites fans to vote for “Who Will be the Half-Blood Prince?” in addition to a downloadable Harry Potter poster. The site will also provide on-going interactive activities including crossword puzzles, word scrambles and trivia questions.

As the countdown continues, the Scholastic Web site will provide an online guide to midnight parties, which will list various retailer’s midnight parties nationwide organized by zip code, city and state so fans can search for a celebratory party to attend in their community.

The fastest-selling book in history, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling’s fifth Harry Potter book, was released on June 21, 2003 with a first printing of 6.8 million. It sold 5 million copies in the first 24 hours. All five Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, have been number one bestsellers in the United States, Britain, and around the world. The American editions of the Harry Potter books are published under Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine imprint.

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Harry Potter to Break Record
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