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How To Sell 50,000 Units Per Hour

July 13, 2005

Can you imagine inventing something that, when it debuts to the marketplace at nearly $30 per unit, can move off the shelves of a single store chain at a rate of 50,000 per hour?

Welcome back to Hogwarts, kids.

Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio has stated that the bookstore chain expects to sell just that many in the first days (weeks?) of this weekend's release of "Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince."

The only books that sell anywhere near as well as J.K. Rowling's international phenomenon (intergalactic, maybe? Are beings from Alpha Centauri eagerly awaiting the release as well? It wouldn't surprise me) are the Bible, and that ever-popular best-seller, "Quotations From Chairman Mao".

I'll admit to being a fan. OK...maybe "addict" is a more appropriate term. If you haven't read these books, understand they're like bibliophilistic crack. I read the first Harry Potter book many years ago, shortly after its release. My then-11-year-old niece bought it for me for my birthday. I read it, initially, to humor her and see what she was reading at the time. I remember that I finished the book around 9:00 pm, and ran out to the bookstore, wearing my sweatpants, to buy the second book.

"Just a few days to go," say the fans excitedly.

"Just a few days to go," says JK Rowling to her editors, publishers, financial advisers, tax accountants and public relations team.

"Just a few days to go," say bookstore owners and executives eagerly.

"Just a few days to go," groan bookstore clerks and security guards despondently.


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