Edinburgh The latest magical tome by J.K. Rowling has started to fly off bookstore shelves.
Rowling launched The Tales of Beedle the Bard yesterday with a tea party for 200 schoolchildren at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, where she lives.
She is donating royalties from the book to charity.
Recession-hit booksellers hope the book - a collection of five fables mentioned in Rowling's saga about boy wizard Harry Potter - will give them a festive boost.
"We expect it to come straight in at No. 1 and is very likely to be our No. 1 book this Christmas," said Jon Howells of Britain's Waterstone's bookstore chain. "It's in with a fighting chance of being the best-selling book of the year, even though there are only a few weeks to go. This is J.K. Rowling. None of the usual rules apply."
Beedle the Bard was published yesterday in more than 20 countries, with a global print run of almost eight million.