The sixth novel in J. K. Rowling's blockbuster Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," will go on sale in Britain and the United States on July 16, publishers...

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LONDON — The sixth novel in J.K. Rowling’s blockbuster Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” will go on sale in Britain and the United States on July 16, publishers said yesterday.

Rowling, 39, noted that while pregnant with her third child, she has had time “needed to tinker with the manuscript to my satisfaction and I am as happy as I have ever been with the end result. I only hope you feel it was worth the wait when you finally read it.”

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The 2005 publishing date means that fans will be spared the seemingly interminable three-year wait between Potter IV, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” and 2003’s Potter V, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

The publishers’ statement and Rowling’s Web site did not say if Potter VI’s length would top the industrial-size 870 pages of “Order of the Phoenix.”

The new book in the series should be great news for booksellers, who have endured another year of slow sales. More than 100 million copies of the fantasy series, which debuted in 1997, are in print, and “Order of the Phoenix” sold an astonishing 5 million copies within 24 hours of publication.

A few hours after Potter VI’s release date was announced, pre-orders made it the No. 1-ranked title on the Barnes & Noble Hourly Top 100, which measures customer orders at Barnes & Noble.com.

The first three books have been made into hit movies and have inspired countless Potter paraphernalia.