Press Release

<< Back shoppers go potty over Harry as unpublished fourth novel rockets into top 5


The fourth JK Rowling Harry Potter novel - a book that doesn't even have a title yet and isn't due to be published until later this year - has shot into the top rankings of's Hot 100 books. has received thousands of advance orders for the next book in the teenage-wizard series, and the book has featured in the top 10 rankings for the past six weeks. This means it is already out-selling published books such as Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes and Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. A significant proportion of the orders are from first-time customers taking advantage of's ability to take pre-orders for delivery upon publication of the book.

The popularity of the next Harry Potter book confirms that 34-year-old Rowling, a single mother recently named as the best-selling author of 1999, is the publishing phenomenon of the moment. Rowling is also the favourite to sweep the board in the forthcoming Whitbread Book of the Year Awards, with bookmaker William Hill giving Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban at odds of 9/4, to win Book of the Year. This position is reinforced by the latest sales figures.

Robin Terrell, General Manager for books at said, "Looking at Harry Potter's position in our sales rankings, our customers are telling us that Rowling is undoubtedly the people's favourite for the Whitbread Prize.

"Last year, sales of Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters rocketed after he was announced Whitbread winner, so we'll be watching closely throughout January and early February, to see if any rankings change. At the moment though, it looks like the Harry Potter phenomenon is set to continue into 2000."

Rosamund Delahey, Head of Children's Sales and Marketing at Bloomsbury Publishing commented, "That the virtual reality of Harry Potter 4 should make it into's top rankings without even having a fixed publication date is an indication of the extraordinary commitment of fans to the series, and the power of Internet bookselling"

Readers may order Harry Potter 4 at


For further details contact:
Vicki Fox
The RED Consultancy
0171 465 7760/ 07808 773 898

Notes for editors

About today offers more than 1.5 million books and CDs, hosts online auctions and provides a complete online storefront for individual merchants through its zShops. customers enjoy the benefits of industry-leading online shopping technology, such as secure credit-card payment, personalised recommendations, streamlined, 1-Click. ordering and hassle-free Bid-Click auction bidding. is the trading name for Int'l Sales, Inc. and International Auctions, Inc., which are both wholly owned subsidiaries of, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), the Internet's No. 1 book, No. 1 music, and No. 1 video retailer, which opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and has already provided safe and convenient shopping to more than 16 million customers worldwide.

This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others,'s limited operating history, anticipated losses, unpredictability of future revenues, potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results, seasonality, consumer trends, competition, risk of distribution centre expansion, risks related to fourth quarter, risks of system interruption, management of potential growth, risks related to auction and zShops services, risks related to fraud and Payments, and risks of new business areas, international expansion, business combinations and strategic alliances. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998 and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 1999, June 30, 1999 and September 30, 1999.

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