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The BBC's Lizo Mzimba
"JK Rowling's next job will be working on book five as well as a Harry Potter feature film""
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JK Rowling talks to the BBC's George Alagiah
"I still absolutely love the writing"
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Saturday, 8 July, 2000, 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
Readers go potty for Potter
JK Rowling
JK Rowling has started a national book-signing tour
Booksellers across the UK are mopping their brows after hundreds of thousands of the latest Harry Potter novel were snapped up by fans.

Stores around the country said JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was one of the fastest selling books they had ever seen.

In some shops copies of the teenage wizard's fourth adventure disappeared at the rate of more than 100 an hour.

At Waterstone's in Piccadilly, London 1,200 copies of the volume were in the clutches of delighted fans before lunchtime, after the book went on sale at midnight on Friday.

Duty manager Lisa Milton said: "It's been a phenomenal day, we've not been this busy since Christmas."



The kids just couldn't wait to get their hands on it

Becky Thomas, WH Smith

At the Plymouth store, more than 700 copies were sold. Six-year-old Gregory White, who read the third Harry Potter in just a day and-a-half, was allowed to sit in the shop window to devour the latest instalment.

At WH Smith in Swansea, assistant manager Becky Thomas said: "We've sold 280 copies. It's huge, it's the fastest selling children's book I've ever known. The kids just couldn't wait to get their hands on it."

Online bookseller, Amazon.com clocked up more than 357,000 copies.

'Complete madness'

JK Rowling described the rush for the new book as "complete madness" as she embarked on a booking-signing tour from King's Cross Station in London.

The author talked to children and signed copies of her book before boarding the train which had been renamed The Hogwarts Express, after the train which takes Potter to a boarding school for wizards.


Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire UK edition
The new book was released at midnight

The clamour for Ms Rowling's fourth novel reached fever pitch when fans camped outside bookshops in the UK and the US to claim their prized copy at midnight BST.

Ms Rowling said she was staggered by the reaction.

"I wrote the book for me, this is all a bit of a shock and I'm amazed - think of a stronger word and double it," she said.

At 640 pages long, the book is twice as long as other Harry Potter adventures but Ms Rowling said she did not think children would find it difficult to read.

Hyped

Adults as well as children have been enchanted by Ms Rowling's tales of Harry - an orphan who discovers he has inherited magical powers and is whisked away to Hogwarts school to develop them with other young wizards and witches.

The heavily hyped Goblet of Fire was eagerly awaited - especially after Rowling revealed that one of the characters would die and that the now adolescent Harry would become interested in girls.


Amazon staff processing orders
The scene at Amazon.co.uk's Milton Keynes base on Friday

The story revolves around the Triwizard Tournament - an ancient interschool wizarding competition - and when Harry's name is pulled from the goblet of fire, meaning he will represent Hogwarts, he becomes the most popular boy in the school.

The release of the book has been surrounded by a level of publicity unprecedented for a children's publication.

The title was a secret until publishers Bloomsbury revealed it last week, and only a chosen few at the company were allowed to read the book before its launch.

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07 Jul 00 | Entertainment
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