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Scholastic Conjures Deals for 'Harry Potter' Release

First-time alliances with an online bookseller and Major League Baseball are part of Scholastic's marketing mix for the July 30 paperback release of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

“By marketing the release of the paperback through some of these vehicles that we haven't used before,” said Rachel Coun, associate director of marketing at Scholastic, “it will give us the opportunity to contact an audience we haven't marketed directly to in the past.”

Scholastic, New York, will work with online bookseller Booksense.com next month in a sweepstakes in which the winner receives a digital camera. Notices will be posted in the more than 1,200 independent bookstores affiliated with booksense.com telling consumers to log on to the site and enter the giveaway. Coun said consumers will have to provide their names and e-mail addresses and qualify by answering “simple Harry Potter trivia” questions.

On July 31, the birthday of the Harry Potter character, and Aug. 6, 11 major league teams will run Harry Potter promotions. The effort will include raffles for five box sets of all the paperback books in the collection and 100 paperbacks of the fourth book. Each team also will give away more than 15,000 Harry Potter buttons.

A print ad will appear in the teams' programs for that day, and messages will run on the scoreboard during the game promoting the book's release. Some teams also will run TV and radio ads announcing the ballpark promotion, Coun said.

Scholastic also sent display kits this month to 7,000 bookstores and 3,000 libraries.

“The kits will include a large birthday card for kids to sign and wish Harry Potter a happy birthday in,” Coun said. “They will also include 50 Harry Potter buttons and puzzles that can be distributed to kids who sign the card.”

Coun said most stores will set up the cards a week or two before the book's release. The kits were sent to major chains such as Barnes and Noble and Borders as well as independent bookstores.

In a separate promotion with Barnes and Noble, Scholastic will supply 800 of its bookstores with 10,000 postcard-style pieces to be given to consumers. The piece will list the book's release date, the Web address for the Harry Potter home page at Scholastic.com and other information.

Print ads debut in the July issue of Nickelodeon magazine, which has a circulation of more than 900,000. An ad will run July 30 in USA Today, with a follow-up in early August. Scholastic also will run an announcement in the readers' notice section of The New York Times the last week of July.

Ads will use the image from the book's cover and will include the release date of the book, mention of Harry Potter's birthday and the Web address for the Harry Potter home page within Scholastic.com.

In addition, Scholastic will run ads on movie theater screens announcing the release of the book, which it estimates will reach 5.2 million people.

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