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2000: New Harry Potter most magical yet
The latest story about boy wizard Harry Potter has broken all publishing records.

The fourth instalment of JK Rowling's series has been released simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic with an initial print-run of 5.3m - 1.5m in the UK and 3.8m in the US.

In Britain the usual run for children's books is 20,000.

The content of the new story has been closely guarded - no review copies were issued - but the author revealed someone close to Harry dies.

Many bookshops opened specially in the middle of the night and laid on wizard-related entertainments so that fans could buy Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as soon as it was released for sale at midnight.

Others waited for the 640-page book to arrive through the letterbox after ordering online.

Internet bookseller Amazon sold 400,000 copies worldwide and expected to deliver 53 tonnes of the book to British readers.

Staff in the distribution centre in Milton Keynes worked overnight to ensure all orders went out yesterday.

Priced 9.99 for paperback and 14.99 for hardback the book is being widely distributed across the UK - including to roadside restaurants - but booksellers still think it will sell out.

The first three books - beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1997 - have sold 35m copies in 31 languages.

Last year the Edinburgh-based author, a single mother, earned 14.5m in royalties, advances and film rights.

JK Rowling left King's Cross Station at 1127 BST today on a specially created Hogwart's Express - the fictional train to wizard school - on a promotional tour to Scotland.

Her previous story, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was shortlisted for the Library Association's Carnegie Medal - the top award for children's writing - but the prize went to Aidan Chambers and Postcards From No Man's Land at the ceremony last night.

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Harry Potter author JK Rowling
JK Rowling sets off on a promotional tour

In Context
Ms Rowling published one book each year until 2001 when the first film - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - was released in November.

The film cost 110m and was directed by Christopher Colombus. It became the second most popular film of all time - behind Titanic - grossing 649m ($926m) at cinemas around the world.

Born on the Welsh borders, Joanne Kathleen Rowling moved to Edinburgh with her baby daughter, after her first marriage ended and began writing whilst she was on the dole.

She dreamt up Harry Potter when she was stuck on a train between London and Manchester in 1990.

Seven books have been written altogether but not all have been published.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was published in 2003. Five million copies were sold within 24 hours of its release.

The sixth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released on 16 July 2005.

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