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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Harry Potter burns midnight oil
Harry Potter books on sale
The publishing industry is gearing up for Potter mania
Bookshops are planning special midnight openings to prepare for the launch of the new Harry Potter novel next weekend.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire is due to hit bookshelves on 8 July and has an initial print run of over one million copies.

Many retailers are planning special celebrations to mark what will be a landmark event in the publishing industry.

Waterstone's is to hold a slumber party featuring magicians, films and other entertainment in its flagship branch in Piccadilly, central London, with similar events taking place in Glasgow, Birmingham and Leeds. staff in the US
Online booksellers in the UK and US are also preparing for the launch

Kim Hardie, from the Waterstone's branch in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, said the response so far had been "brilliant".

"They are going to be so excited. You can just imagine the anticipation as the children at the slumber party wait until midnight until they get a copy.

"The parents seem to be up for bringing their kids at midnight which is astonishing. Harry Potter is an absolute phenomenon. There is nothing else that can be compared with it."

Branches of the Ottakar's chain, at Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Clapham in south London, are also opening in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Midnight openings are nothing new in the publishing world, but this is the first time shops have opened late to sell a children's book.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The cover of the new book

Tight security is surrounding the the fourth instalment of the young wizard's adventures, written by JK Rowling.

Only a handful of executives have read the novel, and in the US, the publisher's manuscript is said to be under armed guard at a compound in Wisconsin.

However, the Glasgow-based Daily Record newspaper claimed this week it had breached security and obtained a copy of the book - but had returned it to its UK publisher, Bloomsbury.

Last year, the release of the third instalment - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - was delayed until schools had closed, to ensure fans did not play truant to secure a copy.

The author - whose first name is Joanne - received the OBE in the Queen's birthday honours earlier this month.

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