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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Bloomsbury set for Potter boost
Daniel Radcliffe playing the part of Harry Potter
The new book is due out in July
Fictional magician Harry Potter is continuing to cast his spell over publisher Bloomsbury with his new book set to record bumper sales.

Bloomsbury said pre-orders for the sixth book in the series - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - were "substantially higher" than forecast.

As a result, it said profits for 2005 were now set to beat expectations.

The news came as Bloomsbury said 2004 pre-tax post-exceptional profits rose nearly 19% to 16.2m ($30.4m).

At the close of trade on Wednesday, shares in Bloomsbury were up 19 pence, or 6%, at 325 pence.

Conjuring up profits

The group is expected to perform ahead of our original expectations for 2005
Bloomsbury statement

Bloomsbury said it would show "significant progress" during 2005.

The new Harry Potter book will be published on 16 July and Bloomsbury will be hoping previous successes can be repeated, or even beaten.

In 2003, the fifth book in the Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix - sold five million copies within 24 hours of its release.

Bloomsbury did not say how many pre-orders for the new book had been received, but said they were "substantially higher than originally anticipated".

"As a consequence the group is expected to perform ahead of our original expectations for 2005 and the board anticipates that profit before tax and goodwill will not be less than 20m," the firm said.

Harry Potter's US publisher, Scholastic, said on Wednesday that the new book would have the highest initial print run in US history, with 10.8 million copies being prepared.

"We wanted to be ready so that every single child, every single person who started out with Harry Potter when it began and every family that wants multiple copies will be able to get them," said Barbara Marcus, president of Scholastic Children's Books.

Bestsellers

Bloomsbury's rise in profits was achieved despite the fact that the firm published no new Harry Potter books during 2004.

The company has been working to expand its range of books to make it less dependent on profits generated by the Harry Potter phenomenon.

"2004 reflected Bloomsbury's emergence as a fully fledged international publisher with an established position in the world's three largest book markets of the US, UK and Germany," said Bloomsbury chairman Nigel Newton.

During 2004, it achieved a number one bestseller in each of the main world book markets, with the top spot being reached by 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' in the US, 'The Two of Us' by Sheila Hancock in the UK and 'Schott's Original Miscellany' in Germany.




SEE ALSO:
New Potter pre-orders top 100,000
09 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Alert over Harry Potter web scam
10 Jan 05 |  Entertainment
Potter publisher has magic touch
23 Mar 04 |  Business


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