New Harry Potter book pre-orders exceed expectations
Have your wands at the ready - the boy wizard whose books cast a spell on millennials is back.
This time though, it's a play. In fact, it's two plays, running a total of five hours onstage.
The idea is to watch it over two nights, or all in one day if you are really keen.
It was written by Jack Thorne, and based on a story he wrote with Harry Potter's creator J. K. Rowling and theatre director John Tiffany.
Preview performances have been running since last month at London's Palace Theatre, but Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will have its official opening this weekend.
It's set 19 years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The plot involves a 37-year-old Harry Potter and his younger son Albus Severus Potter. Harry is now an overworked employee for the Ministry of Magic.
The script is being released as a book for fans who cannot make it to London for the show, or to next year's expected productions in Toronto and New York.
The book form of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released globally at 11.01am on Sunday, New Zealand time.
The book industry is expected to get a boost from the new wizard tale.
Waterstones in the United Kingdom reports that its UK pre-orders for the book have passed the six-figure milestone.
The book is top of both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble charts based on pre-orders. Barnes & Noble expects it to be its biggest selling book this year.
Four and a half million copies have been printed for the North American market. That is strong, although it does not match the 8.3 million copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold in 24 hours in 2007.
New Zealand publisher Hachette is coy about exact numbers for The Cursed Child but says the pre-orders have "surpassed expectations".
Auckland's Time Out Bookstore told Newshub advance orders have been strong, with 20-somethings the single biggest group ordering the book.
It's people in their twenties who appear to be the largest group at many of the theatre previews.
Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop in Auckland says it has also had strong interest. Like a number of other bookshops, it is planning a special in-store event to mark Sunday's release of the book.
A couple of other booksellers said they hadn't had a large amount of interest ahead of Sunday's launch.
One challenge for the smaller bookshops is that they had to decide two months ago whether to pre-order the book.
The unknown factor they had to think about was whether people would be as interested in reading a play as they have been in reading the seven novels.
This is the same reason that the North American print run is smaller than initial printing was for Deathly Hallows.
Nielsen BookScan data shows the volume of books sold in New Zealand so far this year is down by 4.4 percent and the value of the books sold is down by 0.9 percent.
But that was after a very strong 2015.
Nielsen BookData says 2015 saw a rise of 7.1 percent in volume (5.3 million books sold) and a rise in value of 2.1 percent overall.
Nielsen's figures are taken from a retailer panel comprising The Warehouse, LS Travel, Paper Plus, and a number of independent bookstores.
Booksellers NZ says that the local book industry has stabilised since the panic over e-books sales of the early part of the decade. But 2015 was the first year to show a marked increase in sales.
PwC's Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2016-2020 estimates total book revenue in New Zealand will be $557 million in 2020, up from $441 million last year.
The revenue consists of consumer, educational and professional books.
The revenue from e-books is expected to rise from $39.59 million last year to $76 million in 2020.