"Harry Potter" breaks record

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He is not expected to ride his flying broomstick into bookstores for 100 more days, but already boy wizard Harry Potter is whipping up some magic at bookstore chain Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble Inc. on Thursday said advance orders for author J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” have topped 500,000 copies, breaking the bookseller chain’s record for the most advance requests in its history.

“Deathly Hallows” is the seventh book in the series of hit novels that have thrilled readers and been made into big-budget Hollywood movies.

Speculation has been rife that Rowling, who became the world’s first billion-dollar author on the success of the Harry Potter books and films, may kill Harry off in book seven, but confirmation of Harry’s possible demise awaits publication.

“Deathly Hallows” officially goes on sale on July 21.