Scholastic Corp. said last week that it does not expect to publish the fifth volume in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, until its next fiscal year that begins June 1. The publisher has still not received the manuscript from author J.K. Rowling and company spokesperson Judy Corman said Scholastic believes it will take five to six months to prepare the text for publication. Although Scholastic expects to receive the manuscript soon, it does not plan to rush the book into print, Corman said. "We have to go through the editing process, we need a cover design, it just seems likely that it won't be published until the next fiscal year," Corman explained.
The news about the next Potter title came in connection with the release of Scholastic's results for the second quarter ended November 30. Total revenue for the company increased 4% in the period, to $660.3 million, and net income rose 13% to $75 million. Sales in the children's book publishing and distribution segment increased 3%, to $438.2 million, as a 9% increase in both the continuities and school book fair segments offset a 2% decline in school book club revenue and a 5% decline in trade sales.
The first cracks in the Harry Potter juggernaut appeared in the quarter, with Potter sales in the period of $25 million, down by $20 million from last year's second quarter. While Potter sales last November enjoyed a boost from the release of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie, Scholastic did not see a similar lift for Potter sales in connection with the release of the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie last month, resulting in lower than anticipated sales and higher returns.
In a personnel move, Scholastic Library Publishing named Anne Hoppe to the newly created position of director of trade, special and wholesaler sales for the division. Hoppe will be responsible for the sale of Children's Press and Franklin Watts titles to channels not served by the library division's in-house sales force, which calls primarily on the institutional market.