Harry Potter's dollar magic will live on
With J.K. Rowling's final book about the boy wizard on tap to break publishing records, booksellers expect the entire franchise to have a long shelf life.By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer
July 20 2007: 10:40 AM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The world will learn Saturday whether Harry Potter lives or dies, but book sellers say they're confident the multi-billion dollar franchise will live on.
"Every time there is a new book in the [Harry Potter] series, it generates demand in the previous books because there are people who either want to start the series or catch up," said Kim Brown, vice president of merchandising for No. 1 U.S. book seller Barnes and Noble (Charts, Fortune 500).
So what happens after Friday to Scholastic, the book's publisher?
Laine Cunningham, an independent consultant to the publishing industry, called the end of the Potter series a "mixed bag" for the publishing industry.
"On the one hand, the industry doesn't have a brand name with the power of Harry Potter to put on the next book," Cunningham said. "However, you still have the movie tie-ins and other licenses that will keep the brand alive."
"I also think the demise of the series creates an opening for other authors. The publishing industry has woken up to the tween and teen market in a way that it has never done before and I'm sure that publishers are already searching for the next big title," Cunningham said.
Drew Crum, analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Company, agreed with Cunningham.
"Harry Potter is an extremely popular title and we probably won't see anything like it," Crum said. "But it's also leaving behind a literary classic that will be enjoyed by generations to come."
"Publishing is a mature industry. Once in a while you get a big hit. Harry Potter did create big sales upswings every year a new book came out. No more Harry Potter is probably not good for the industry," he said.
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