HARRY Potter fans are rushing to reserve the next instalment of the boy wizard’s adventures at a city bookshop even though Edinburgh author JK Rowling is months from finishing it.
Waterstone’s is taking advance orders for the book - to be called Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - after being besieged by hundreds of requests.
The rush has taken friends of the multi-millionaire writer by surprise because she is still busy putting the story down on paper.
And the London-based publishers of the Harry Potter series warned the city book store was being "a bit naughty" because fans were likely to be disappointed by the long wait.
One of Ms Rowling’s friends said: "I’m surprised by this. She is still busy writing it as we speak. It hasn’t even gone to the publishers yet. There has been no date set. She has no idea."
"It could be this year and it could be next year."
The huge appetite for the new book suggests Harry Potter mania is still strong - at least in the Capital.
The books have so far proved a phenomenon with around 113 million copies of the series being sold worldwide, making an estimated 15m for Ms Rowling, who recently bought herself a Perthshire mansion to go with her Edinburgh home.
Thousands have also flocked to the movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, since it opened in November.
Waterstone’s said it had only started taking advance orders in response to huge public demand.
A spokesman said: "Although the date of the new book hasn’t been announced, people have already been enquiring about how and when they can pre-order copies. The excitement is definitely building. We do not do this often, but for books where there is huge interest anticipated from our customers, it is good customer service to ensure people can reserve a copy of the book."
A spokesman at Waterstone’s Princes Street West End branch said the store had taken "hundreds" of enquiries since the beginning of the year.
"Just last month, we had 50 enquiries. This why we’re doing this," he said.
But publisher Bloomsbury said today it still did not have the manuscript for the fifth book of the series.
"They are being a bit naughty," said a spokeswoman.
"She is still writing it and we assume we will be publishing it later in the year. "
She added the company would announce the publication date when it gets the manuscript.
A total of seven Harry Potter novels are planned by the author who wrote the first in Nicolsons cafe in Edinburgh while caring for her daughter, Jessica.
Waterstone’s appears to be a step ahead of its rivals as other stores are not accepting bookings yet. A spokesman for James Thin said: "We are not considering it at the moment."
WH Smith revealed it would not be accepting pre-orders until it knew the publication date.