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The largest publishing event of the summer isn't a novel or a tell-all biography. It's a script.
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" the hotly-anticipated continuation of J.K. Rowling's beloved and lucrative franchise is slated to hit shelves on Sunday, and it's already breaking records.
"We expect it to be our biggest selling book of the year," Mary Amicucci, chief merchandising officer at Barnes & Noble, said in a statement.
Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of Rowling's collaboration with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, has printed 4.5 million copies in North America.
That pales in comparison to previous "Harry Potter" book releases that have topped 8.3 million copies in the first 24 hours of sales. Still, the publisher expects the event — held on July 31, Harry Potter's (and Rowling's) birthday — to be celebrated by fans and be the "largest publishing event of the summer."
The smaller printing is the result of it being a script book, but Scholastic said it "will work closely with accounts to be sure they get the books they need."
Publishers could use a little magic. Industry-wide, book sales were down 13.7 percent in January compared to a year prior, with eBook revenue plummeting 25 percent in the same period, according to the Association of American Publishers.
Childrens and young adult books, the categories that "Harry Potter" is often sorted into, were down 20.4 percent.
"For the millions of us who are Harry Potter fans, a new Hogwarts story is a huge event," Seira Wilson, Amazon books editor, said in a statement. "I'm excited to see how the 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' script fits in with the books we know and love. I could easily see young fans adapting to the format and using it to act out the play on their own."