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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Harry Potter 'too heavy' for posties
Harry Potter
Demand for the new Harry Potter book has been high
The Royal Mail is preparing to lay on vans to deliver the new Harry Potter book across Scotland, over fears the magical volume could be too heavy.

Thousands of children waiting for the latest edition of the Harry Potter saga to be delivered by post next Saturday could face disappointment.

The Royal Mail said it expects to handle an estimated 50,000 books in Scotland.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is poised to smash all children's literary records, with 500,000 due to be sent out by the postal service across the UK on Friday night.

We are concerned about our staff being overloaded
Royal Mail spokesperson

The book, which has taken JK Rowling three years to produce, is 768 pages long and weighs in at one kilogram.

Problems could arise as postal workers have a 16kg health and safety limit on their bags and it is also feared the books could be too big for most letter boxes.

Amazon, WH Smith, Tesco and other online book retailers said they were relying on the Royal Mail to make the deliveries as planned.

However, a spokesperson for the Royal Mail in Scotland, said: "We are concerned about our staff being overloaded.

"If numbers are high, then there are plans in place to take them out in vans. The health and safety of our staff has to come first."

'Unprecedented scale'

The spokesperson added: "Some places like Glasgow and Edinburgh will be busier because that is where a lot of the books have been ordered from, but we are used to handling large mailings."

But Danuta Kean, contributing editor of Bookseller magazine, said she would be "surprised" if the operation went to plan.

She said: "The scale of this is unprecedented. We thought the distribution operation for the last Harry Potter novel was big, but this one puts even that in the shade."

The Royal Mail spokesperson urged anyone waiting for a copy of the novel on Saturday morning to make sure they are at home; otherwise, they may have to pick them up from a local office.

Part of the new Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is being filmed in Glencoe in Scotland.




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