Is There a Harry Potter Effect?

Tunick, Britt Erica
June 2003
Investment Dealers' Digest;6/23/2003, Vol. 69 Issue 25, p12
Trade Publication
The book 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' was launched for sale in bookstores across the U.S. on Saturday, eagerly greeted by children and adults alike who pre-ordered more than one million copies on Internet retailer Amazon.com alone. But no one was more eager for its arrival than its U.S. publisher, Scholastic Corp. Scholastic is hoping the attention from the book will not only help boost its stock price, but will enhance sales for some of its other titles as well. Despite longtime anticipation for the fifth of British author J.K. Rowling's planned seven-book series, in February the company lowered its fiscal 2003 earnings estimates to between $1.85 and $2.15 per share, down from its previous expectations of $2.50. Then in May, Scholastic announced that it was cutting 4% of its workforce, due to lagging retail sales and the overall weak economy. The company has printed 8.5 million copies of 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' and is already talking about plans for a second run. But Ray Marchuk, senior vice president of finance and investor relations for Scholastic, said people tend to forget that Harry Potter sales actually comprise a very small percentage of the company's overall revenues and that publishers have been suffering from weaker retail sales across the board.


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