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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Harry Potter and the profit hike
HM Queen meets Harry Potter author JK Rowling
Author JK Rowling receives the royal seal of approval
Fictional boy wizard Harry Potter continues to weave his magic for Bloomsbury Publishing, which has more than doubled profits.

The fourth book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, became the fastest-selling book in history when it was published on 8 July last year.

It also triggered 'substantial extra sales' of the first three books in the series, the publisher said on Wednesday.

Bloomsbury's website was also besieged with Harry Potter fans after it went online in October, with more than a million page views in the first month alone, the company said.

Forthcoming film

The ongoing success of the Harry Potter series saw Bloomsbury's pre-tax profits shoot 120% higher to 5.8m over the year to 31 December, up from 2.6m the year before.

Turnover also more than doubled, rocketing 143% to 50.8m.

Bloomsbury chairman Nigel Newton said the Harry Potter series, created by J.K. Rowling, was now being compared to other classics such as Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Sales of Harry Potter books and merchandise are set to receive a further boost with the release of the first Harry Potter film, at the end of this year.

Mr Newton said the film would "trigger a huge awakening of interest" among those who have yet to read the books, expanding the market "significantly".

Other titles

Bloomsbury was also helped last year by the success of its other writers, including Margaret Atwood, whose novel, The Blind Assassin, won The Booker Prize.

Joanna Trollope's Marrying the Mistress, and Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, were also bestsellers.

Bloomsbury's US division was also performing strongly and was 'growing ahead of our expectations'. Mr Newton added.

One of Bloomsbury's founders Alan Wherry has moved to the US to oversee the division's expansion.

Shareholders will receive a total dividend of 5p per share, an increase of 32% on last time.

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See also:

22 Mar 01 | Arts
Queen's wizard book day
23 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Lawson beats Potter magic
24 Nov 00 | Business
Magic sales for Bloomsbury
23 Nov 00 | Scotland
University honours Potter author
18 Nov 00 | Scotland
Rowling heads rich list
29 Sep 00 | Business
Harry Potter works publishing magic
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