A happy New Year expected for booksellers
Book retailers will be pleased to hear that the sixth Harry Potter story has been completed by author JK Rowling. The release of the title, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was announced by publisher Bloomsbury yesterday. It will hit the shops in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa simultaneously on July 16.

The book is sure to give booksellers a boost. When the fifth title, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was released in Britain in June 2003, 1.8 million copies of the book were sold on the first day.

Seymour Pierce analyst Rhys Williams said: 'It depends greatly on what the margin is on the books as the Harry Potter series has been discounted massively by some retailers. It's bound to have a big impact not only on revenues for the booksellers but also the big multiples such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Woolworths, which also sell these books.'