March 14, 2007 / 12:35 PM / 12 years ago

Scholastic to print 12 mln U.S. copies of Potter book

Children dressed as wizards wait outside Waterstone's bookshop in London for the launch of a Harry Potter book in a 2003 file photo. U.S. publisher Scholastic Corp. said on Wednesday it set a "record-breaking" 12 million copies for the first printing in the U.S. of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." REUTERS/Sinead Lynch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Publisher Scholastic Corp. said on Wednesday it would release a record-breaking 12 million copies for the first U.S. printing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which hits stores on July 21.

The release of the seventh and final book in the popular series by British author J.K. Rowling will be backed by a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign and is expected to be one of the biggest publishing events in recent years.

Speculation has run high that “Deathly Hallows” could mark the death of the boy wizard hero.

“Harry Potter” books have sold 325 million copies and have been translated into 64 languages. The series has spawned four feature films. A fifth film based on the fifth installment, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” will reach theaters a week ahead of the new book’s arrival.

The first printing of “Deathly Hallows” breaks a record of 10.8 million copies of the sixth book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” in 2005.

That book sold 6.9 million in the first 24 hours, Scholastic said.

In the UK, it sold more than 2 million copies on the first day of release, making it the fastest-selling book of all time, according to the publisher.

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