23 August, 2014 / Shawwal 26, 1435

LONDON: British bookshops opened their doors early on Thursday and some grown-up Harry Potter fans lined up overnight as J.K.

Rowling launched her long-anticipated first book for adults, “The Casual Vacancy”. The lines were shorter and the wizard costumes missing, but the book was published to some of the same fanfare that greeted each Potter tome, with stores wheeling out crates of the books precisely at 8 am.

Published five years after the release of the last book in the boy wizard saga, “The Casual Vacancy” is already at No 1 on Amazon’s US chart, and bookmaker William Hill put 2/1 odds on it outselling “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which shifted 2.6 million copies in Britain on its first day.

Many of the early buyers were Harry Potter fans who, like the author, have moved on to more adult fare.

“I just like how much excitement there is about a book,” said 23-year-old Grace Proctor, a “massive” Potter fan who was first to buy the book at one London store.—AP

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