Harry Potter Sets 24-hour Sales Record

An average of more the 250,000 copies of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” an hour, or a total of 6.9 million copies, were sold in the first 24-hours the book was available the Associated Press reports. The sixth installment of the popular Harry Potter series has generated revenues of more than $100 million, the richest opening in publishing history, and has even surpassed the estimated revenues for the weekend’s top two movies.

“This is a cause for celebration, not just for Scholastic, but for book lovers everywhere,” Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic Children’s Books, author J.K. Rowling’s U.S. publisher told the Associated Press. “When a book beats out movies, we’re in great shape.”

The Daily Telegraph reports that Rowling, who introduced her latest book during a magic and wizard-filled weekend at Scotland’s Endinburgh Castle, made £24 million in 24 hours. The Castle was transformed into Hogwarts and decorated with flame torches and a giant projection of the book’s cover for the release, according to the BBC.

Eager readers around the world lined up for hours in anticipation. Not all the readers were children. According to ChinaDaily lines formed at 6 a.m., nearly an hour before the Wangfujing Bookstore, the Foreign Languages Bookstore and Xidan Book City in Bejing, China, opened. Many in line were young university students.

The book’s magic, however, isn’t only between its covers. The series earns partial credit, along tougher standards and motivated teachers, for the fact that the average American 9-year-old now spends more time reading each day than most 17-year-olds. Results released Thursday from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate that both the math and reading skills of 17-year-olds have declined while the scores of younger students improved. USAToday reports, the biggest improvements in the reading skills of 9-year-olds have come during the last five years.

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