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Saturday, 1 April, 2000, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Harry Potter books vanish from shelves
Harry Potter books
Harry Potter books continue to work their magic
Paperback copies of the latest Harry Potter book are outselling all other children's books combined by five-to-one, booksellers have reported.

New editions of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was released in hardback last summer, were said to be "flying off the shelves".

It's just been flying off the shelves, a lot of people have obviously been waiting for the book for a while

Waterstone's spokeswoman
A spokeswoman for the children's book section of Waterstone's in London's Piccadilly said more than 60 copies of the novel were sold in the first two hours of trading.

The ringing cash registers are further testament to the phenomenal popularity of JK Rowling's novels, which chronicle the adventures of a fictional teenage wizard.

"It's just been flying off the shelves, a lot of people have obviously been waiting for the book for a while," said the spokeswoman.

Some 900,000 paperback copies of the book have been printed in expectation of runaway demand.

Sales figures for the latest book are likely to be matched when an as yet unnamed fourth novel is released on 8 July.

Love interest

Rowling has already whetted appetites for the forthcoming adventure by revealing the book will feature the death of one character and the awakening of the young wizard's interest in girls.

"We get about 10 queries a day, every day, from people asking when the new book is out," the spokeswoman added.

Nicola Mitchell, who runs the children's section in Waterstone's Argyle Street, Glasgow, shop said she had already taken around 30 pre-orders for the new book.

"It's unheard of to take so many orders for a book that's not out for more than three months," she said.
JK Rowling
JK Rowling says Harry will become interested in girls
"The new paper back is selling very well. I've only been on the desk for an hour and I've sold eight copies already," she added.

A spokesman for the WH Smith shop in Manchester's Arndale Centre said The Prisoner of Azkaban was outselling everything else on the shelves combined.

He said: "We've sold more of that than every other children's book together by a ratio of at least five to one.

"Considering how many copies of the hardback were sold that's quite an achievement."

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