updated 7/18/2005 1:04:39 PM ET 2005-07-18T17:04:39

The latest Harry Potter novel has broken all British book sales records, selling more than 2 million copies on its first day of release.

Based on sales estimates received by Nielsen BookScan, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" sold 2,009,574 copies through book stores, supermarkets, Web sites and newspapers throughout the United Kingdom when it went on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Selling more than any other book on its first day, J.K. Rowling's latest Harry Potter installment received both Nielsen BookScan's Gold award Saturday for selling 500,000 copies and a Platinum award for selling 1 million copies.

"Typically, a good book will take about four to six months to go gold and very few books reach platinum in their first year of publication. 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' achieved platinum in less than one day!" said Richard Knight, the managing director of Nielsen BookScan.

The company monitors book sales in the United Kingdom, the U.S., Ireland, Australia and South Africa. It does not measure sales to institutions such as libraries and schools.

Sales of the sixth volume of the Harry Potter saga are coming close to the total paperback sales in the U.K. of Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code," said Kim Crooke, an administration executive for Nielsen BookScan.

"Since its release, 'The DaVinci Code' had sold 3,005,851 paperback copies, so it sort of puts into context for you how many Harry Potters were sold," said Crooke.

"The DaVinci Code" went on sale in March 2004.

Sales of the "Half-Blood Prince" were greater than the fifth volume, which sold 1,777,541 copies on the first day of its release in 2003.

Sales figures for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," after its first week of release, will be available July 26.

In the United States, the book sold an astonishing 6.9 million copies in its first 24 hours — averaging better than 250,000 sales per hour and smashing the record held by the previous Potter release.

"This is a cause for celebration, not just for Scholastic, but for book lovers everywhere," said Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic Children's Books, author J.K. Rowling's U.S. publisher.

Sales for the sixth installment of Rowling's fantasy series easily outpaced those for Potter V, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which came out in 2003 and sold 5 million copies in the first 24 hours in the United States.

Acknowledging that some stores quickly ran out of books two years ago, New York-based Scholastic Corp. has already increased the print run for the latest book from 10.8 million copies to 13.5 million.

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