Final chapter at hand for Harry Potter epic

It’s been an international phenomenon. Now the final chapter is nearly at hand in the epic of Harry Potter.

With a new Harry Potter film on the big screen — and the final book of the series hitting shelves later this month — there are quite a few businesses that want to be part of the magic as well.

Harry Potter has cast a spell on millions of fans around the globe and in the process, created a billion-dollar phenomenon. The six books have sold over 320 million copies globally, in 64 different languages.

And now legions of fans eagerly await the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” that goes on sale on July 21. It’s expected to break new sales records. already reports receiving more than 1.6 million pre-orders.

This week the fifth Harry Potter film hit theaters.

According to Nieslen, the first four films have already grossed more than $ 3.5 billion worldwide. And the Harry Potter brand has rung up more than $11.8 million in sales of cookies, candy and gum since 2002 according to A.C. Nielsen.

But not everyone will profit off the beloved wizard. Retailers like Barnes and Noble and Wal-Mart are slashing prices for the last book by up to 40 percent to bring shoppers to their stores.

And smaller independent bookstores — who struggle to compete with those low prices — say they probably won’t make any money.

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