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We don’t know yet whether the young wizard Harry Potter will survive Book 7, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (though we will soon–hooray!!). But the publishing industry–particularly children’s-book publishers and most of all Scholastic, JK Rowling’s American publisher–are bracing for a major hit once July 21, 2007, passes and there will no longer be Harry Potter book-release dates in our future.

While Rowling’s official annoncement of HP7’s July debut has been met with joy and sighs of relief among children and adult fans the world over, Scholastic, bookstores, and the tremendous media tie-in industry face a terrifying possibility: What if Harry can’t rise above his of-the-moment popularity? What if Harry’s afterlife is only brief at best?

The Harry Potter industry waits with bated breath (to put it mildly), according to the New York Times article “‘Bye Harry,’ Sob Booksellers, Investors…Oh, and Kids.”

Yes, it is the end of an era–at least one dimension of it. And perhaps a bit of nostalgia combined with fear on the part of those whose livelihoods now depend on Harry & Co. And this whole bit about Daniel Radcliffe taking off his clothes for a play (get over it) doesn’t really help the tizzy. But have a little faith! Harry has captured the imaginations of millions of people, young and old, all across the world. I highly doubt he will stop anytime soon. And aren’t we all jealous of those little children who’ve yet to read the series? A whole new world awaits them. Sigh.

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