Publisher sets record price for new 'Potter' novel

— The new "Harry Potter" book, still five months from publication, has apparently already set a record: It will be the highest-priced new children's novel in history.

Scholastic Children's Books, the U.S. publisher of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," announced Thursday a suggested retail price of $29.99.

"That's definitely the highest price for a children's novel we've ever seen," said Diane Mangan, director of children's merchandising at the superstore chain Borders Group Inc.

The previous Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," was published in 2000 with a suggested price of $25.95.

Most children's stories cost far less. A popular novel from last fall, Cornelia Funke's "The Thief Lord," had a list price of $16.95.

A spokeswoman for Scholastic, Judy Corman, acknowledged that some customers might object to the price, but she cited increased production costs and the new book's anticipated length, well more than 700 pages.

Few will actually pay $29.99 because stores offer significant discounts. Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, which had been selling the book for $17.97, will now charge $17.99.

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