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Final Harry Potter book on shelves July 21 February 2, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books.

Stores taking preorders for J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’

July 21, at 12:01 a.m., that’s when the next and final installment of the Harry Potter book series will be released.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Mary GrandPre, will be priced at $34.99 for the standard hardcover edition and $65 for a deluxe edition, the U.S. publisher, Scholastic, announced today. No page length has been set, though Scholastic acknowledges that it has a manuscript in hand from Rowling.

Online booksellers such as Amazon.com and BN.com are already taking preorders at a deep discount, $18.89 a copy.

Also taking pre-orders at the retail price is the independent bookstore The Book Beat, in Oak Park, which has become known for its midnight Harry Potter parties on previous book release dates. Owner Colleen Kammer promises another party for the seventh book.

She says she and her booksellers were hoping that the seventh book would be released on the memorable date, 07/07/07, but “I guess they needed those extra two weeks.”

The Book Beat is at 26010 Greenfield, Oak Park, 248-968-1190, 10-9 Mon.-Fri; 10-7 Sat., and noon-5 Sun., or www.thebookbeat.com. The previous book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” was released two years ago, on July 16, 2005. It was the fastest-selling book in history, according to Scholastic, selling 6.9 million copies in 24 hours.

The books follow the adventures of Harry Potter, a boy wizard who has been seemingly anointed to battle the evil Lord Voldemort, a rogue wizard who wishes to take over world of wizards — who happen to live among ordinary, non-magical people but are largely undetected by them. Each book has covered one year in Harry’s career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a boarding school located on an magical campus somewhere in England.

Rowling has said that two main characters will die in the final installment. Online speculation has tended to favor the death of both Voldemort and Harry in a climactic showdown. Rowling has been unafraid to kill off beloved characters before, most notably with the death of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in book 6.

Kammer, for her part, hasn’t joined the death-pool speculations. “I like being surprised,” she says. “And I don’t want to think about anybody being lost.”

It’s almost impossible to overstate the impact of Harry Potter on children’s books. More than 120 million copies of the first six books are in print in the United States alone.

The stories are being made into a series of equally block-busting movies. The film of the fifth book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” is set for release July 13.

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