Harry Potter fans rage over book

LONDON/NEW YORK • Despite explosive sales, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is not magical to some fans. The script for a new London play which tells the eighth story in the boy wizard series has sold more than two million hardcover copies in its first two days on the market in the United States, publisher Scholastic said on Wednesday, calling the sales "unprecedented for a script book".

It was published at midnight on Sunday, shortly after the play's gala opening. The play is sold out till May next year inclusive.

Cursed Child, written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, is set 19 years after Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the final and seventh book in the original series, released in 2007. Scholastic said it had ordered 4.5 million first-printing copies of Cursed Child and retailers had reported "fast-paced, record- breaking pre-sales" ahead of the release date.

Despite the sales, Cursed Child has caused a minor schism among devoted Potterheads. While many readers were ecstatic about the chance to have more material on Harry and his friends, others have faulted Rowling for licensing her story and characters. Some fans have lashed out online, saying they feel they were duped and misled by the prominence of her name on the cover.

"This is NOT a Harry Potter book. I frankly feel disgusted even adding it to the collection," one fan wrote on Amazon. "It reads like a poorly written fan fiction."

However, the sales of Cursed Child are a testament to the longevity of the franchise, although they fell far short of the sales record set in 2007 by Deathly Hallows, which sold 8.3 million US copies during its first 24 hours on sale.

Before its release, Barnes & Noble said Cursed Child was the most pre-ordered book since Deathly Hallows.

British publisher Little, Brown Book Group said the new book sold 680,000 print copies in Britain in three days. British book industry magazine and website The Bookseller said if the sales rate continued, it would "be the second biggest-selling single week for one title since records began, with Deathly Hallows as the first", which sold 1.8 million copies, as well as 780,000 copies of the adult edition, in Britain in its launch week.

NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Harry Potter fans rage over book'. Print Edition | Subscribe