The next Web site. Titled "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the book will be shorter than the last 38-chapter whopper and will hit shelves on both sides of the Atlantic on July 16 of next year.has just been announced, and it's rocketed--or broomsticked--to No. 1 on Amazon.com's best-seller list. Author J.K. Rowling posted official word of her sixth book's completion Wednesday on her
"I have a great feeling of release in being able to talk freely about the fact that the book is finished; it has been a weighty secret to carry around, as you can imagine," Rowling wrote on her site. "But finally sharing it with you was wonderful--much more fun than wrapping presents and tidying the house before the family arrives, which is what I am supposed to be doing at the moment."
For fans who have been waiting eagerly since the last release (it's been 549 days since the last installment), the announcement is certainly a Christmas treat, but it's not such a shabby gift for online retailers, either.
Barnes & Noble's Web site also has the book listed as its top-seller, nearly seven months before release. Amazon said it sold more than 1.3 million pre-release titles of the last book, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," setting a record for early orders and accounting for more than $23 million in sales--even at a 40 percent off discount.
There's also the "Unofficial Half-Blood Prince Update," a regularly updated e-book available from Amazon for $11.94, which serves as a one-stop guide to all the real information, fan speculation and mysteries surrounding the identity of the mysterious half-royal in the book's title.
For those less manic, a quick trip through Rowling's own site has a few nuggets, such as information on characters expunged from previous books and efforts to dispel rumors that serve as tantalizing new hints on their own.
"This is where I can tell you the truth about rumors or news stories, where I can share the extra information I haven't put in the books, where I can give you hints and clues about what's going to happen to Harry next, and where I can announce I've finished book seven," Rowling writes in her welcome. "And no, that's not going to happen very soon."