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November 19, 2002

Bloomsbury Thrives on Potter

The weekend opening of the second in the Harry Potter movie series brought another huge payday for author J.K. Rowling and publishing house Bloomsbury. Analysts say that some 60% of the company's sales come from the series, which has sold over 130 million copies in 47 languages. The first three books in the series have taken the #3, 4 and 5 spots in the Japanese all-time bestsellers list. The first film in the series took in more than $900 billion at the international box office and The Chamber of Secrets is expected to do even better.

Bloomsbury is a relative newcomer in the book business, only floating on the London Stock Exchange in 1994. Early coups such as The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and the discovery of then unknown Scott Turow helped build the company, but the success of Harry Potter has seen its value rise to GBP110 million. Rumours of writer's block delaying the fifth installment in the boy wizard series saw the stock price drop. The company is not putting all its eggs in one magic basket, however. It recently bought out several smaller rivals, including ELT reference publisher Peter Collin.

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