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Boy wizard fans potty over book.

Byline: By David Bartlett

Harry Potter has cast a spell over the North East with children and adults alike flocking to pre-order JK Rowling's latest tale about the boy wizard.

North East bookshops are advising people to put their names down early for the Order of The Phoenix which could be as hard to get hold of as the Golden Snitch.

With more than a month to go until the release date of June 21, nearly 10,000 people from the region have already ordered their copies. Adam Duell, from Grey Street Waterstones in Newcastle, said: "Demand will just go up and up as the date gets closer. Everyone is going Harry Potter mad.

"Demand for Harry Potter has been building up over the years. We have certainly had more pre-orders for this book than the previous ones.

"We will be opening the store at midnight to guarantee our customers can get their hands on the books as soon as they hit the shelves.

"The book has been released on a Saturday so kids won't miss out on school. Last time some children missed classes to get the book which we don't want to encourage."

Waterstones has had between 500 and 1,000 pre-orders for each of their North East stores. Pre-orders for Harry Potter books are more than 10 times higher than for any other best seller.

The Grey Street store initially ordered 1,200 copies but expects to need fresh supplies before the launch.

The first four Harry Potter books sold more than 170 million worldwide.

A spokeswoman for WH Smith, in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, said: "As expected, Harry Potter has captured the imagination of our customers and pre-sale orders are six times higher for the fifth book than for the previous books.

"We are opening up at midnight as well and are expecting a big turn-out."

Such is the success of Harry Potter that the two feature length films of the first two books, filmed at Alnwick Castle, are amongst the highest grossing films in box office history. J K Rowling, Harry Potter's creator, has become richer than the Queen, with a personal fortune in excess of pounds 280 million.

Both of Newcastle's Waterstones will open at midnight on the release date.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 9, 2003
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