Media Relations: What The Papers Say - Press roll out the puns for Potter

JK Rowling's latest contribution to children's fiction not only inspired 'full-blooded mania' (The Sunday Times, 17 July) but record-breaking sales. Bloomsbury reported that 8.9 million copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were snapped up within the first 24 hours of the book going on sale.

Retailers fought hard, with midnight openings and a fierce supermarket price war, prompting an equally ferocious onslaught of punning headlines.

'The lure of Harry Potter and the half-price prints' (Financial Times, 16 July) was typical, while Asda book buyer Toby Bourne's press statement broke the pun-ometer: 'Everyone is spending a few quidditch at Asda and going Potter potty' (Life Style Extra, 17 July).

Criticism was limited. There was papal disquiet that the books could 'distort Christianity in the soul' (, 15 July), and greater concern over the preceding 'months of near hysterical hype' (The Guardian, 16 July).

The Times commentator Hugo Rifkind vainly sought reason: 'A book launch.

By a publishing company. Not a semi-religious experience. Not a landmark cultural event. It's a bloody book launch,' (15 July).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

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