Harry returns in a blaze of hype

YOU MIGHT be forgiven for thinking that Salman Rushdie's latest Booker-tipped epic will be the publishing event of the summer. But you would be wrong.

The real buzz in the book world concerns the new adventures of a small bespectacled orphan who, any child will tell you, is the son of famous wizards. On 8 July, the third volume in the acclaimed Harry Potter series arrives in Britain's bookstores.

Thousands of youngsters - and, more surreptitiously, many parents who have proved equally charmed - can barely wait.

"We get letters every day from children asking when the new Harry Potter is coming out," said a spokeswoman for the publishers Bloomsbury. "There is strong loyalty."

The Harry Potter books, written by divorced single mother Joanna (J K) Rowling, have become the children's publishing sensation of the past two years.

Sales of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and its sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, have passed 500,000. Booksellers are confident the phenomenon will continue with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Ms Rowling, 34, of Edinburgh, has won the Smarties Book Prize (the children's equivalent of the Booker) two years running and missed the 1998 Whitbread by a whisker. And Warner Bros has snapped up the film rights to the first two books for a seven-figure sum.

The success has taken Bloomsbury from 20th position in the list of top children's publishing imprints in the second quarter of 1998 to 10th place in the second half.

Contributing to the sales are the special "adult edition" of the first book, published in a stylish black and white cover with orange lettering, so that adults who have fallen for the beguiling tale can read it without broadcasting the fact.

An adult edition of J K Rowling's second book will be published alongside the hardback third, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, this summer.

Analysing the sales data, the Children's Bookseller magazine said: "For high street booksellers in the UK this has been the year of Harry Potter." Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was, it added, the "star at the top of the children's bestseller lists".

The books' eponymous hero is an orphan forced by cruel relatives to live under the stairs until his 11th birthday, when he discovers he is the son of famous wizards. Enrolled at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he learns magic and fights off the evil Lord Voldemort.

In the new book in the planned series of seven, Harry's adventures pitch him against Sirius Black, "possibly the most infamous prisoner ever to be held in Azkaban fortress".

In advance publicity, Bloomsbury is describing the publication as "the publishing event of the summer" and is anticipating such interest that a special collectors' cloth-bound edition is being prepared.

Even librarians consider the books a welcome addition to their shelves. Sue Roe, of the Youth Libraries Group of the Libraries Association, said: "They're very good. We certainly stock them - there's no question of librarians not stocking things that are popular.

"They're a good read because they combine a mixture of things," she said. "They're really quite an old-fashioned boarding school story, but with magic and fantasy and wizardry. They've got a lot of things that appeal to a lot of children."

The date of Harry Potter the third was inscribed on her memory. "It's 8 July, isn't it? You see, I'll be reading it as well."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition