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It was announced yesterday that the sixth book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling will be published on July 16, 2005…and the book almost instantly became number one on Amazon.com sales rankings and Barnes & Noble’s website.

Amazon said on its site that customers could get 40 percent off the list price of the book ($29.99 down to $17.99) and have it delivered on or just after the release date by pre-ordering it online.

When the last book in the series, it sold more than five million copies within the first 24 hours of publication. The entire series has sold more than a quarter of a billion volumes, and has spawned a successful series of movies – the fourth of which, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” is slated to come out on November 18, 2005.
KC's View:
Almost certainly this is going to be the major publishing event of 2005, as well as the day that will define the summer for millions of parents and children.

Which means that smart retailers should start planning now on how to taker advantage of it. Consider running a Harry Potter look-alike contest in your store, at which kids can come in dressed as any character from the Rowling canon. Kids who come in costume get a free ice cream cone, plus are entered in a contest, with winners receiving free copies of the book. And while all this is happening, the retailer can be selling additional copies of the book, can be getting media attention because of all the wizards running around the store, and can be marketing to all the parents who came with their kids to the store.

This is an enormous opportunity, folks. Take advantage of it. You don’t have to be a wizard to make a little marketing magic.

As for us, we’ve already ordered two copies – one of each of our boys. We may be a Muggle, but we know how to keep peace in the household…