Waterstones predicts unprecedented sales for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has also topped the Amazon charts ahead of its publication this summer
JK Rowling has once again leapt to the top of book charts, less than 24 hours after the announcement on Wednesday of an eighth title – the play script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Already No 1 on Amazon and Waterstones’s bestseller lists the day after it was announced, the book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will reproduce the text of the eponymous forthcoming play, opening in London on 30 July, and will be available a minute past midnight the following day. With readers’ excitement already plain, Waterstones chief executive James Daunt promised the launch of this book will put previous, spectacular, Potter launches “into the shade”.
Previous novels in the series saw bookshops across the UK open at midnight to satisfy fans desperate to get their hands on the books, and booksellers are clamouring to organise events around the launch. Little, Brown, publisher of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, said it was “too early to say” whether there would be midnight openings this time round, but that Rowling herself would not be doing any events.
As the book topped the Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com bestseller lists – where it is already discounted to half price – Daunt said there were “no sweeter three words to the ears of a bookseller than ‘the eighth story’.
“Younger booksellers now face, of course, the dubious prospect of their older colleagues rolling out war stories of Harry Potter launches for the next five months. On 31 July, we will put these into the shade.”
Simon Heafield of Foyles said the bookshop chain was “massively excited at the news and are already putting our heads together on the question of how to mark the occasion in style.” “It’s great that bookshops will get the chance to benefit from this new chapter of Harry’s story,” he said.
David Shelley, chief executive of Little, Brown, said on Wednesday that Rowling and her team had received many requests from fans who cannot see the play to publish it in book form: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them,” he said.
The upcoming book, which will reproduce the script from the forthcoming play by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, shifts the action of the Harry Potter stories to 19 years after the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry is now “an overworked employee of the ministry of magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children”, grappling “with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs”.
The first version of the book released on 31 July will be a “special rehearsal edition” of the text used during the preview performances ahead of its official opening.
“The preview process allows the creative team to rehearse changes and/or to explore specific scenes further, in front of a live audience. It means some final changes may still be made after publication … As such the script is subject to change.”
The edition will, therefore, only be available for a limited time, said the publisher, “to be replaced by the definitive collector’s edition at a later date”.
This article was written by Alison Flood, for theguardian.com on Thursday 11th February 2016 12.47 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010