It's become a tradition—in anticipation of each new Harry Potter title, Scholastic's rivals cook up strategies to exploit the inevitable increase in attention to children's books in general, and to fantasy in particular. "The release of Harry Potter is a phenomenon unto itself. It's too difficult to fight with it, so you might as well learn to play along," said Amy Geduldig, publicity manager for children's books at Henry Holt, which is hoping the summer Potter title will prime the market for its fall release of In the Coils of the Snake, the latest in Clare Dunkle's The Hollow Kingdom series.

Here's what some other publishers are doing to capitalize on the July 16 laydown of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

  • Hyperion/Miramax is delaying publication of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by three weeks, giving it a June 28 release. "We bumped it to be closer to everyone's friend, Harry Potter," said publicity director Jennifer Levine.

  • Candlewick will launch its pre-pub campaign for the fall title Wizardology in July, sending out 1,000 standing displays featuring the cover image and a large image of Merlin to accounts around the country. Each display holds 100 bookmark-brochures, which give a sneak peak of the book, along with a map locating wizards around the world and a secret message to decode.

  • Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing has created and printed 76,000 copies of a digest-sized paperback sampler, Full-Blooded Fantasy, that it will distribute free to booksellers. Tracy van Straaten, executive publicity director at S&S Children's Publishing, said retailers have been asked to hand out the sampler to customers during parties held in honor of the new Potter. Excerpted titles in the sampler include The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, The Spiderwick Chronicles #1: The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black and Dark Reflections Book One: The Water Mirrorby Kai Meyer.

  • Houghton Mifflin is sending out bookmarks and "Dragon Activity" sheets for stores to include in displays built around Potter. The materials feature Houghton's Web site and images from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (a new YA edition) and The Hobbit.

  • While Bloomsbury USA's children's division moved up the publication of Shannon Hale's Princess Academyto mid-June to avoid having it overshadowed by Potter-mania, it's hoping to cash in on the excitement at the end of the summer, said publicity manager Deb Shapiro. "We're positioning Drift House[by Dale Peck]as a great new 'classic' fantasy series to start once you're done with Harry 6, available in late August."

  • In honor of Harry's owl, Hedwig, Workman is sending Owl Pukeauthor Jane Hammerslough to Schuler Books in Lansing, Mich., for the Potter release party. Workman is also providing independent bookstores with "What's in Hedwig's stomach?" blowups, featuring an image of the book's cover and info from Owl Puke.

  • Touchstone/Fireside is looking for Potter to move a backlist book, Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody, which boasts more than 80,000 copies in print. "It always sells when there is a new [Potter] hardcover, paperback or movie," v-p of publicity Marcia Burch said. She added, "A special sell sheet was done to focus sales, and we will be sending our 'reminder' review copies to press in June. Our motto is: 'Warning: This isn't the real thing... it's funnier!' "