HARRY POTTER and the Deathly Hallows: Last Potter book coming July 21

HARRY POTTER and the Deathly Hallows, last of the iconic Harry Potter series, will be out on July 21, author J.K. Rowling has announced on her website. The launch will be at 00:01 hours British Summer Time — 5.30 a.m. in India — in all English-speaking countries except the US, Rowling said.

Publishers Bloomsbury said they were delighted “this most anticipated of books” was coming. They plan to publish separate children’s and adults’ hardback editions, a special gift edition and an audio book.

At a recommended retail price of £17.99 (around Rs 1,565), the book will be expensive. “We will negotiate for a special price,” Thomas Abraham of Penguin India said. “Last time (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) we sold 1.5 lakh copies. This time we might cross two lakh.” Bookings will open a month before the launch. “Last time, we booked 800 advance copies and sold 1,500 in the first two days,” Subhash Arora of Teksons said. “The response is bound to multiply this time,” Amit Vig of Om Book Shop predicted.

The Half-Blood Prince sold over 20 lakh copies in the UK, nearly 70 lakh in the US, and an estimated one lakh copies in India the day it was released in 2005.

In an interview following the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2005, Rowling stated:

“Realistically, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do real work on it until next year [2006]. I see next year as the time that I’m really going to write seven. But I’ve started and I am doing little bits and pieces here and there when I can. But you’ve seen how young Mackenzie still is, and you can bear actual witness to the fact that I do have a very small, real baby, so I’m going to try and give Mackenzie what I gave David, which is pretty much a year of uninterrupted ‘me time’, and then I’ll start writing seriously again.”

In a Christmas 2005 letter on her official website, Rowling stated:

“I have been fine-tuning the fine-tuned plan of [book] seven during the past few weeks so that I can really set to work in January [2006].”

In September 2006, Rowling was nearly barred by US Transportation Security Administration officials from carrying a working manuscript for the seventh Harry Potter novel onto an aero plane, due to security restrictions, but eventually she prevailed. She said at the time she would rather have sailed home in a boat than be separated from the manuscript.

Rowling has stated in the diary on her website that she has been writing scenes that she has had in her mind for more than 12 years, and that she is ‘alternately elated and overwrought’ at the prospect of completing the book.