Sales of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playscript (Little, Brown) have been “incredible” according to Waterstones, while Foyles deemed it “the fastest-selling book we’ve ever sold” after fans flocked to midnight openings around the country.
The Harry Potter magic last seen 10 years ago for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Bloomsbury) was relived by fans, many of whom queued outside bookshops holding midnight openings on Saturday (30th July) for their copies of the Cursed Child playscript, by Jack Thorme (Little, Brown), with queues forming again early on Sunday morning (31st July).
Waterstones had indicated pre-order sales of the book had reached 100,000, with the title set to be the biggest for sales since the release of the last in the novel series Deathly Hallows and Kate Skipper, buying director for the retailer, said overall sales of the book including the first day were “in line with our pre-order indications.”
Altogether 140 of the chain store’s held midnight opening events, offering the book for £10 at 50% off.
Waterstones Piccadilly's launch of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script.
Skipper said: “It's been an amazing weekend! First day sales have been incredible and our launch day parties surpassed all expectations. Our shops went for it and we couldn't have asked for more from our booksellers, they've been amazing. We're thrilled with how our sales are tracking so far and we're working hard to ensure we keep up with demand. Overall sales are in line with our pre-order indications so we're very pleased.” She added: “A massive thank you to all our booksellers for working their socks off and more importantly to J K Rowling for giving us yet another weekend to remember.”
David Prescott, c.e.o of Blackwell’s, which also held midnight opening events, also indicated the chain had clocked up large sales figures for the first day. “What I can say is that the events we ran were all a huge success and that sales in the first 24 hours are well above our original expectations,” he said.
Meanwhile Foyles’ declared the title “the fastest selling book we’ve ever sold,” according to Simon Heafield, head of marketing and brand development [pictured right: the launch of the book at Foyles' Charing Cross Road branch]. And supermarket Sainsbury's told The Bookseller sales of the playscript were "really good-double our original forecast".
Amazon said the Cursed Child was its “top pre-order of 2016”. The e-commerce giant held an event to mark the release challenging “10-year-old speed-reading prodigy” Toby L’Estrange to read the script at 1,000 words a minute after it was delivered to his Kindle e-reader just after midnight on Sunday. The schoolchild accomplished the task in 59 minutes, according to Amazon, then posted a review on the e-tailer’s website describing the eighth harry Potter story as “really good” but also “complicated” and “a bit different from all the others”.
Independent bookshops also cashed in on a resurgence of Potter mania. Marie Moser, owner of Edinburgh Bookshop, said: "… Sales yesterday were good. We sold 32 copies, which for a Sunday is great.”
She added: “No one knew how the book was going to sell. Yes it's Harry but it's a play and it's been a long time since the last book. So it did a lot better than I thought. It was mainly adults who came in to buy it, which was lovely. It was a lovely day and there was genuine excitement."
Suzanne Wren, bookseller at City Books in Brighton, said the shop sold five copies which was “pretty good for a Sunday”.
“It will be a big success,” she said. “Everyone wants to know what happens next and the fact that J K Rowling is involved gives it that authenticity you wouldn't get from unauthorised stories.”
Simon Key, from the Big Green Bookshop in London’s Wood Green, held a midnight opening and pledged to donate profits from it to a local school. "Around 20 people came to midnight opening,” he said. “We have sold just over 30 copies sold so far, and about 10 more with pre-orders. We expect it to go on selling but it didn't seem to be as big an event as the launch of the Deathly Hallows. Obviously fans have been very keen, and if you wrote Harry Potter on anything they would buy it."
The Special Rehearsal Edition of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book comprises the script used by the cast and creative team during rehearsals and previews as well as details of the original cast and production team.
The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cast includes Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Sam Clemmett as Albus Potter and Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter.
This edition is only available for a limited time, to be replaced by the Definitive Collector’s Edition to be published early in 2017, which contains the perfected, definitive script with final stage directions and annotations and this edition will also include extra content, such as writing from the play’s creative team.
Reviews specifically for the playscript of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have been published in the nationals. The Telegraph gives the playscript four stars, saying: "Whether encountered on stage or on the page, this trip back into the magical world of Hogwarts is thrilling." The "pacy plotting and wit-driven dialogue, though written by [Jack] Thorne, feels fully part of Rowling's vision," it says. While, compared watching the play, reading the script feel like "a skeleton of that overall experience", readers "have time to appreciate on the page how nimbly Thorne's writing navigates the adventure's death-defying twists and turns."
Ten-year-old Jack Shepherd speed-read the playscript for The Independent, giving it six out of 10. "Harry and the others are grown-ups which is a bit weird. And they've good children. So the story is a mixture of grown-ups we sort of know, plus children we don't know," he says. "It's a really good story. It's a very complicated story. It happens in different times, so it's really helpful if you know all the other books and characters quite well." But he concludes: "I think you're going to love it."
However the Irish Times believes the playscript is "missing the Rowling magic", saying: "The fact that it is Thorne's signature that defines The Cursed Child rather than [Rowling's] is telling. This is Harry Potter the franchise rather than the real deal.
Rowling has suggested the play may go global, saying: "Hopefully more than America, hopefully many countries at some point will get to see it."
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