The record-breaking numbers keep coming in. Scholastic said Sunday that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which had a first printing of 12 million copies, sold an unprecendented 8.3 million copies in the U.S. in its first 24 hours. Random House is also claiming Deathly Hallows to be the fastest-selling audio in history, with weekend sales estimated at 225,000 copies, a 40% jump over the two-day start for Half-Blood Prince.
At Borders, the book broke a record for the chain, selling 1.2 million copies worldwide, “the highest single-day sales of any title ever in Borders history,” the retailer said, while Barnes & Noble sold 1.8 million copies over the weekend and an additional 213,000 copies of other books in the series and Potter products. Amazon presold 2.2 million copies and shipped 1.3 million copies in the U.S. for Saturday delivery.
In the U.K., Nielsen BookScan reported that the Bloomsbury edition sold 2,652,656 copies in the first 24 hours of sale in the U.K., and Bloomsbury added that nearly 400,000 copies of its English-language edition were sold in Germany.
Back in the U.S., indies also moved huge quantities of books, so much so that there were scattered reports of stores being out of stock after their events on Friday night. Scholastic spokesperson Kyle Good said, “We are working with retailers to move additional copies to the places they are needed most in the coming days and weeks.”
One indie bookseller we spoke with, who asked not to be identified, ran out of books on Friday night and said she was frustrated because Scholastic had limited the number of books that independent bookstores could order. “You weren’t allowed to buy more books than you sold last time, unless you had specific reasons,” she said. “I can see why they were doing this—they were trying to protect booksellers from themselves, because some had way overbought and then had to pay to ship them back to Scholastic.”
The bookseller said that Friday night had been “a mob scene” at her store. “A lot of people said they wanted to be there for it because it was the last book and they didn’t want to miss the celebration. It’s hard to be upset about selling 1,000 books. We couldn’t have been happier with the outcome, except for the fact that we ran out.” A staffer from her store tried to buy more copies the next day at Costco, only to find that the retailer had a 10-book-per-customer limit on the title.
Most booksellers, however, said the Potter event was a home run. Kris Nugent, manager of Anderson's in Naperville, Ill., said 2,000 people picked up their books Friday night and that the store did not run out of copies. She estimated there could have been as many as 70,000 people in Naperville this past weekend for the town's "Party That Shall Not Be Named." The Magic Tree in Oak Park, Ill. ordered 1,050 copies, and "sold pretty close to that" Iris Yipp, said. Skylight Books in Los Angeles sold 400 copies and bookseller Andrew Gaines said “we had enough for everybody.”
There were also a few reports from booksellers of some misprinted copies, with pages missing toward the end, or duplicate copies of the same pages. "It adds to the excitement of Harry Potter," said Alan Fowler, co-owner of Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls, Vt., philosophizing about the missing signature (pages 643-674) at the end of at least 26 of the store's copies. The mix-up was first uncovered early Saturday morning when a high school student who helped the store with its Potter party was just finishing the book. Because the printing error is so deep into the book, Fowler said, he's expecting to hear from more customers early this week.
Fowler does have a new order coming from Ingram and asked customers who haven't picked up their copies yet to wait a little longer for fresh inventory. Only one other New England bookseller so far has reported a similar problem: Scott Meyer, who has three Merritt bookstores in New York. Apparently the books skip from page 642 to page 707 to 730 then go back to page 675 to the end.