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Publishers Weekly

For Other Publishers, Potter a Mixed Blessing
by Steven Zeitchik, with Jim Milliot and Charlotte Abbott, PW Newsline -- 1/15/2003
BreakingNews >

The newswire was still cooling after the Harry Potter announcement when publishers began to welcome Scholastic's news. "It will only benefit from any additional traffic in bookstores," said one executive of his company's high-profile title set for the same time. Harcourt trade president Dan Farley noted that after the release of Goblet of Fire , his publisher "had great success with wizard books and magic books."

But privately and quietly, some were more ambivalent about the consequences. In July 2000, the big titles coming out at the same time as Potter IV created a perfect storm that picked up publicity, production and sales of other books in its tempest -- and resulted in diminished numbers for other titles in all three areas. This year the waves could crash even higher.

. . .

For these books, the fact of more eyeballs in stores will bring greater opportunity, no doubt, but also fewer hands willing to reach into their wallets after fronting twenty-something dollars. (The monopolization of bestseller lists, so much a concern a few years ago, is a little less worrisome now that the Times decided to create a children's list as a result of the Potter series. And the kids' title most likely to be affected, Harper's Lemony Snicket #10 (Handler writes a lot faster than Rowling), isn't scheduled for release until the end of October, Harper said today.)

. . .