Harry Potter mania hits town as the final wizard’s tale goes on sale.
Big retailers in the UK slashed their prices in a wave of discounting which saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows drop as low as £4.99 per copy.
Loyal Harry Potter fans got drenched last night to grab his final adventure — set to be the fastest-selling book of all time. More than 1,000 waited at Waterstone’s in London’s Piccadilly, where spokesman John Howells said: “We thought they’d be here last night, but they’ve been here two days. That shows their passion and dedication.”
After getting their hands on JK Rowling’s seventh and final instalment, readers must choose whether to skip straight to the end to discover whether Harry lives or dies.
Excitement was growing outside Waterstone’s on Piccadilly where the first fans started queuing on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the chain, said heavy rain earlier today hadn’t dampened the mood. “It is completely crazy, it has never been quite this busy,” she said. “There are people from all over the world – from Australia, Mexico, Germany and Russia. You name it, they are here. It’s mainly people who’ve come of age with Harry, who’re 18 to 25.”
Meanwhile, Asda – part of the Wal-Mart Group – has apologised to Bloomsbury for accusing it of holding children to ransom over the price of the final Harry Potter book. The embarrassing climbdown came after the UK publisher refused to supply Asda’s order of 500,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, citing an unpaid bill. This threatened to leave the supermarket chain with hundreds of thousands of disappointed customers. The furore also highlighted the fact that while millions of copies of the book will be sold over the weekend, hardly anyone will make any money out of it.
Several independent stores are expected to buy their copies from the local supermarkets, who are treating it as a loss-leader, rather than from Bloomsbury.
Fans ran out of stores screaming “I’ve got it” after getting a copy.
Excited fans around the world got their hands on it last night — with huge queues in Japan, Peru, Ireland, Australia and America. The seventh Potter epic will make sales history today. Online retailer Amazon’s global pre-orders yesterday reached 2.2million — up 47 per cent on its record for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Waterstone’s said the book is its biggest ever single order. Mr Howells added: “We estimate the book will sell three million copies across all bookshops in 24 hours. We had pre-orders for more than twice that of last book.”
But some stores might be a few copies short — after downpours stranded some delivery lorries. Landslips on the M4 and M40 saw containers stuck in stationary tailbacks stretching for miles.
The Harry Potter price war got meaner yesterday as Morrisons dropped its price for The Deathly Hallows to £4.99 — to undercut rivals Asda by a penny.