The official Chinese version of the latest Harry Potter smash hit went on sale in bookstores yesterday, almost two months after an unofficial version was posted on the Internet.
Harry Potter fans flock to bookstores in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, on Sunday morning as the Chinese version of the last episode of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, hit shelves on that day.
One million copies of the book have been printed by the People's Literature Publishing House in Beijing, which owns the copyright of the Chinese language version of the bestselling series for the Chinese mainland.
Priced at 66 yuan (US$8.80), the book about a boy wizard is perhaps the most expensive children's book in the country, where the average disposable income per month was last year about 1,000 yuan (US$133).
Nearly 10 million copies of the Chinese versions of the previous six installments have been sold, and the number is rising, Pan Kaixiong, vice-president of the publishing house said. Globally, the Harry Potter series has been translated into more than 60 languages and 325 million copies have been sold, earning $6 billion.
"We are ready to print more copies of the Chinese version at any time," said Sun Shunlin, editor of the Chinese versions, adding that more than 180,000 copies of the last installment were distributed to bookstores in Beijing on Saturday night.
To prevent the official version from being pirated, the publishing house has signed special contracts with bookstores and printing houses.
But there are fears that the unofficial translations online could damage sales of the official printed version.
Dozens of translations of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows can be downloaded for free.
It is believed they were translated by fans just days after the release of the official English version in August.
Chinese fans are even going a step further by writing their own versions of the end as well as other wizard adventures.
One of the most popular readings online is "Past Time of Lily Evans and James Potter", about the relationship of Harry's parents and his professor Severus Snape as well as stories of their friends, written by a 13-year-old girl.
(China Daily October 29, 2007)