About the Book
July 16, 2005
652 (U.S. edition), 608 (U.K. edition)
Initial Print Run:
10.8 million copies (U.S.)
Just over a year after its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
, was released, JK Rowling announced that the title of the sixth Harry Potter book will be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(also referred to as HBP). The announcement was made on June 29, 2004 on the author's official website, www.jkrowling.com
Rumored titles hit the Internet many months prior to June 2004. These included "Harry Potter and the Mudblood Revolt," "Harry Potter and the Fortress of Shadows," "Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch," and "Harry Potter and the Pillar of Storgé." The "Pillar of Storgé" rumor began several days before the actual announcement was made and fooled many fans, most of whom now refuse to admit it.
The release date for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
, July 16, 2005, was announced by Bloomsbury on December 21, 2004, the day after JK Rowling made this update to her official website:
"'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' is COMPLETED and has been delivered to my English language publishers, who hope to announce the publication date within 24 hours.
"Although I have joked about HP&THBP racing my third baby into the world, I have in fact had all the time I needed to tinker with the manuscript to my satisfaction and I am as happy as I have ever been with the end result. I only hope you feel that it was worth the wait when you finally read it!"
Mere hours after Barnes and Noble began taking pre-orders for the book, it shot to the top of their bestseller list. Also, on the day that the release date was announced, the Bloomsbury's and Scholastic's stocks (the UK and US publishers of Harry Potter
) rose 8.2% and 4.5%, respectively.
The American edition was first reported to be 672 pages long on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com on January 23, 2005, and was confirmed a day later by Scholastic. Several weeks later, on February 11, 2005, it was announced that the British edition would be 608 pages in length. (As you all know, the American edition is actually only 652 pages long. To this day, we've yet to find out whether the January 2005 confirmation of 672 pages was merely a mistake or if an additional twenty pages were cut from the book before publication.)
The cover art for both the American and British editions, which can be viewed here, was first revealed on "The Today Show" on the morning of Tuesday, March 8, 2005. Mary GrandPre, the artist of the first five Harry Potter books published by Scholastic, also drew the cover art and the inside illustrations that precede each chapter in Half-Blood Prince
. British Order of the Phoenix
illustrator Jason Cockcroft also drew the British Half-Blood Prince
cover art, which was released with the US cover art.
Scholastic announced on March 30, 2005, that the initial print run of the book would be 10.8 million copies, making it the largest initial print run in history, topping the record set by Order of the Phoenix
in 2003 by a whopping four million copies. We can, of course, expect more of the same when the yet-to-be-titled seventh book is released in the coming years.
The cover of the Half-Blood Prince
Deluxe Edition was released on May 11, 2005. For the first time, the deluxe edition had its own unique cover, which was also drawn by Mary GrandPre. The deluxe edition does not contain any additional or deleted portions of the book, but does include a 32-page insert featuring near scale reproductions of Mary GrandPre's interior art, as well as a never-before-seen full-color frontispiece art on special paper, depicting a scene from the second chapter of the book. The custom-designed slipcase is foil-stamped and inside is a full cloth case book, blind-stamped on front and back cover, foil stamped on spine. The book includes full-color endpapers with jacket art from the trade edition and a wraparound jacket featuring exclusive, suitable-for-framing art from Mary GrandPre (Amazon.com).
Like the regular edition, the deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prine
was released on July 16, 2005. It is 704 pages long and had an original retail value of $60.00; the initial print run consisted of 100,000 copies.
Literary analysts conceded that they were surprised at the high demand for the adult edition of the book. More than 250,000 copies of the adult edition of Half-Blood Prince
were sold on July 16, 2005. Debbie Williams of Waterstone's said, "We are amazed by the pre-reservation demand for the adult edition of 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' at launch. We are likely to see the adult edition of 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' account for more than 15 percent of launch sales for this book, which means that more adults will be reading a children's book this summer."
Another much-publicized aspect of the book launch was the immense security surrounding it. At printing plants, all workers' bags and lunchboxes were searched, as were lockers, desks, and other work areas. Video cameras and guards were positioned in a number of locations around the plants to ensure that no copy of the book left it. Also, tape recorders and photographic cell phones were banned.
A worker at a plant in Germany said, "We heard that the British publishing house that gave our company the contract wrote a clause saying that we would be liable for something like $4.9 million if a single word of the new book leaked out before publication day."
Still, despite the heavily tightened security, two copies of the adult edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
leaked almost two months before its release. The book thieves tried to score a deal for $100,000 with two British tabloid newspapers, but the arrangement turned sour when one of the reporters tried to run off with the book without paying - to give it to the police, he said - which prompted one of the thieves to fire a fake gun at the reporter. Police confiscated the copies of the book and arrested the thieves. Meanwhile, the tabloid newspapers ran front-page stories about how their reporters were almost killed by Harry Potter thieves (and of course, they conveniently left out the fact that the gun was fake in a vain effort to spice up their already overly-dramatic stories).