Bookseller anxiety that everything will go smoothly for what will be the biggest bookselling weekend of the year continues to mount as the on-sale date nears for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Even with the largest first and second printings ever—6.8 million and 1.7 million copies, respectively, for a total of 8.5 million books in print—booksellers worry about running out of stock. (See Children's Books, p. 25.) One rumor making the rounds is that if Scholastic had not discouraged retailers from placing overly large orders, the initial buys for the fifth volume of the Harry Potter series would actually top 16 million.
Despite booksellers' publication date jitters, Scholastic is confident that it can handle what Michael Jacobs, senior v-p for Scholastic's trade group, refers to as "this huge juggernaut." He acknowledged that not everybody is happy with the company's allocations.
"There are customers we've had to tell that this is what we're prepared to give you," Jacobs told PW. "We feel like we've worked really closely with our customers. Did we give everybody everything they wanted? No, the number [of books] would be higher than it could be. We are taking the risk. Our position all along was that we'd be ready to allocate with our customer. We want to make sure the POS lives up to what they're building up their projections on. I think it's going to be a huge first week."