At last! The loooong wait is over. Harry Potter and his cohorts finally made their literary entrance at the appointed hour of 12:01 AM on July 21. And millions of revelers were ready, partying at bookstores, libraries and other various locales from coast-to-coast. and around the globe, beginning last Friday evening. By the time the last of the celebratory butterbeer was imbibed, Scholastic announced that a record-breaking 8.3 million copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had been sold in the book's first 24 hours of release in the U.S., including record-breaking totals for both chains and independent book retailers. Borders and Barnes & Noble sold well over a million copies each, Amazon had pre-sold more than 2.2 million copies, and many indies reported selling 1000 books or more during their Friday night events.

U.K. results were comparatively just as strong, with Nielsen BookScan reporting that the Bloomsbury edition sold 2,652,656 copies in the first 24 hours of sale in the U.K., and the publisher sold nearly 400,000 copies of its English-language edition in Germany. And there were similar reports from the many countries around the world that offered Bloomsbury's English-language edition.

Random House Audio had some record-smashing to report as well. The Listening Library recording of the book, read by Jim Dale, became the fastest-selling audiobook in history, with weekend sales estimated at 225,000 copies, a 40% jump over the two-day start for Half-Blood Prince back in 2005.

Considering the sheer scope of the Deathly Hallows rollout, things were overwhelmingly smooth, though, as one might expect, there were a couple of slight bumps. PW received reports of some independents temporarily running out of stock after Friday night, as well as scattered reports of misprinted copies. Scholastic has assured retailers that it is working as quickly as possible to address any inventory issues and replace any misprinted books.

The long wait is finally over, for
fans at Denver's Tattered Cover.

As for the book itself, we figure that none of the hoopla matters as much as what fans think. So we asked a few young readers for their take on Harry's last adventure. To see what they told us (warning: plenty of spoilers),
click here.

As the week—and the HP7 juggernaut—rolled on, we heard more readers' reactions, more thoughts from J.K. Rowling at series' end, speculation about her next project, and, as could be expected, news of overseas pirated editions. With some wistfulness (and, OK, a wee bit of relief), we offer a final wrap-up of Harry Potter news. Though, as Rowling has said "never say never," so will we….

Today Looks at Rowling's Tomorrows

In an interview with Today Show host Meredith Vieira (airing today and Friday, and on Dateline Sunday), Rowling answered questions from children and spoke of her likely post-Potter plans. As she has mentioned previously, she wants to write an encyclopedia of Hogwarts, which will include more details about the back stories of characters and places in her books. Additionally, this new work is slated to expand on the epilogue included in HP7. However, fans shouldn't hold their collective breath. "I'm not going to do it tomorrow because I'd really like a break," Rowling told Vieira. "So you may be waiting."

Rowling also discussed her decisions about various plot points in the final book, and named the character she gave a reprieve from death in the series. To see clips from her interview on the Today Show (major spoiler alert), click here.

Calling Professor Trelawney: Looking Further into the Crystal Ball

Though Rowling's post-Potter break is well deserved, she has said that the true writer in her is never completely idle. In an interview that appeared today in USA Today, the author reveals that she is "sort of writing two things at the moment. One is for children and the other is not for children. The weird thing is that this is exactly the way I started writing Harry. I was writing two things simultaneously for a year before Harry took over. So one will oust the other in due course, and I'll know that's my next thing."

Ask Her Yourself!

Rowling appeared on Friday night at
London's Natural History Museum, where she
read the first chapter aloud,
and signed 1700 books in seven hours.

Have something to ask J.K. Rowling? She'll be answering questions via a live webchat sponsored by her British publisher Bloomsbury on Monday, July 30. The chat takes place 2—3PM BST (that's 9—10:AM EST here in the States) and fans can submit questions online.

Harry Potter and the Pirates

No, it's not some mash-up of two big summer movies. We're talking about the now-inevitable pirated copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that have turned up overseas. The problem is especially serious in Asia, where Rowling and her publishers have fought bootleggers before. Read about the lightning-quick ripped-off version produced in China here. And for info on fake copies that have showed up in India, click here.

Movie Star Wizard, Grounded Teen

Daniel Radcliffe, birthday boy.

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry on the silver screen, celebrated his 18th birthday on July 23. While countless teenage girls sighed and telepathically sent best wishes to the heartthrob, Bookshelf took note for other reasons. During the massive press junket for promoting the latest HP film, Order of the Phoenix,Radcliffe told several reporters that although he has access to the movie money amassed in an investment account that was in trust until his recent birthday (estimated at £20million/$40 million), and People even made him the cover boy of its recent "Richest Teens" issue,the windfall is not about to change him into a spendthrift, or a hard-partying, club-hopping celebrity. "The things I like buying are things that cost about 10 pounds— books and CDs and DVDs," Radcliffe told one journalist.

It's not surprising, then, that a young man who seems so well-adjusted is a truly welcome celebrity supporter of Demelza House Children's Hospice, located just outside London. Radcliffe lists the Hospice as his charity of choice, and the actor is featured on Demelza House's Web site.

As his birthday was approaching, Radcliffe asked that instead of sending him cards or gifts, fans instead could make a donation to Demelza House. His own Web site set a goal for fans to donate 1800 pounds to Demelza House in the 18 weeks leading up to his 18th birthday. The fundraiser began on March 18 and ran through July 23. Fans have donated £10,020 to date. In addition, Radcliffe has also designed an item for a kids' line of furniture and accessories at U.K. retailer Habitat, the proceeds of which will go to Demelza House.