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Today's word on

Friday, September 9, 2005

Scene: Calvin and Hobbes are reading the newspaper.

Calvin: "I like following the news! News organizations know I won't sit still for any serious discussion of complex and boring issues. They give me what I want: Antics. Emotional confrontation. Sound bites. Scandal. Sob stories and popularity polls all packaged as a soap opera and horse race! It's very entertaining."

Hobbes: "Then commentators wonder why the public is cynical about politics."

Calvin: "You can tell this is an in-depth story because it's got an article next to a chart."

--Calvin & Hobbes by cartoonist Bill Watterson, 2005


Sixth Harry Potter novel breaks record

Two Harry Potter fans check out the new book. / Photo by Kristin Bishop

By Kristin Bishop

July 25, 2005 | Sales for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soared well above the book series' previous record, selling a shocking 6.9 million copies in its first 24 hours.

The sixth installment of the series was released at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and averaged approximately 250,000 sales per hour. Bookstores across the country were packed with people and stocked with their fair share of the 10.8 million copies printed for the big event.

"This is a cause for celebration, not just for Scholastic, but for book lovers everywhere," said Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic Children's Books, in a recent interview with Matt Moore of the Denver Post.

Since the release of Harry Potter and Rowling's introduction into the world of her imagination back in 1997, the series has become known around the world, selling over 270 million copies and being published in at least 62 languages. The series has captivated audiences of all ages, inspired movies, and made Rowling the wealthiest woman in Britain. Most importantly, the series has created a love of reading among people all across the world.

"We broke another sales record," said Barnes & Noble's Steve Riggio in an interview with Carol Memmot of USA Today. "It's great to see a book out-gross a Hollywood movie."

Potter Parties have consumed the past few days with most being held at bookstores, restaurants and city parks across the country. The majority of Barnes and Noble bookstores staged face-painting booths, offering children painted-on scars similar to that of their hero Harry Potter. A number of stores also hosted costume parties, awarding children with prizes such as broomsticks and wands. Public readings of the book were also a big hit, with crowds filling public libraries at 6 a.m. on Saturday just to hear the first few chapters with a group of friends.

"Everyone in my family had the book pre-ordered months ago," Maren Bishop, an avid Harry Potter fan said."It was great having them delivered to our front step on opening day. I'm already on page 300 and plan to have it finished by the end of the week."

Richard Knight, the managing director of Nielson BookScan, stated that it typically takes a good book four to six months to go gold, with very few reaching platinum in their first year of publication. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince set more than one record by achieving platinum in less than one day. Rowling is proud of her success yet is dreading the release of the seventh and final book of her remarkable series. Rowling has said that she fears what she'll do after the final book is completed. She also mentioned that using a fake name for any of her future work sounds very attractive.

"I'll have less pressure and I can write any old thing I want and people won't be clamoring for it and that might be nice," she said in an interview with Matt Moore of the Associated Press. "But one of my regrets would be that I will never again have the pleasure of sneaking into a cafe -- any cafe I like -- sitting down and diving into my world and no one knowing what I am doing and no one bothering about me and being totally anonymous, that was fantastic."


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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