Book Article

Orders For 'The Phoenix'

''Harry Potter'' sets first-day sales records. It moves 5 million copies on Saturday, including 1.3 million online

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix | 'PHOENIX' RISING Online shoppers are wild about ''Harry''
'PHOENIX' RISING Online shoppers are wild about ''Harry''
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Orders For 'The Phoenix'

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Everyone knew that ''Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'' would sell like no book since, well, ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'' three years ago. Still, the first-day numbers for the book, which went onsale worldwide at 12 a.m. Saturday, were staggering. By the end of the day Saturday, the book had sold 5 million copies, its U.S. publisher, Scholastic, announced. The previous one-day record, set by ''Goblet,'' was 3 million.

Amazon reported that it moved 800,000 copies online on Saturday and had ordered a total of 1.3 million overall, making ''Phoenix'' the largest single-item e-commerce order of all time. Stephen Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble, which sold 896,000 copies on Saturday, noted to the New York Times that the book was bigger than this weekend's blockbuster movie opening for ''The Hulk,'' which earned an estimated $62.6 million. ''Phoenix,'' which retailed between $17 and $30, would have racked up at least $85 million on Saturday alone.

Still, some Muggles mucked up the process, with some Virginia customers complaining that their copies were missing the first 33 pages. Author J.K. Rowling threatened legal action against the New York Daily News for revealing plot spoilers in an article on Wednesday and against USA Today for running a review (albeit a positive one) on Friday. Of course, given Saturday's numbers, it'll be hard for her to prove that the newspapers' early plot leaks took any wind out of her sales.

Originally posted Jun 23, 2003