The wait is finally over for the fans of Harry Potter as the final instalment in the seven-book series of the tales of the boy wizard hit bookstores on Saturday and curiosity-stricken admirers indulged in some speed-reading to learn the fate of their hero.
Copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows authored by the British writer J K Rowling flew off the shelves as fans, who had placed orders for the book well in advance, queued up at the bookstores here to grab their copies.
Many people, most of them youngsters, had arrived at the bookshops as early as around 5 am to ensure they were among the first to get the book.
Parag, an entrepreneur, who has been reading Harry Potter books for the last ten years, was among the early birds.
Excited at laying his hands on the book, he said, "I am crazy about Harry Potter. I now have all seven Harry Potter books."
"I rushed to the last page as soon as I got the book. The last line is enough to tell you whether Harry Potter lives on or not," said Ananya Dasgupta, an avid Potter fan who refused to divulge the fate met by her hero, saying it will spoil the suspense for other readers.
Another Potter fan, Shruti Verma, who has been promised the book by her father, said she logged on to the Internet as soon as she got up this morning to find out how the book ended.
The book had given rise to a lot of speculation and discussion as Rowling had promised two deaths in it.
The bookstore Bahrisons in Khan Market in the capital had made an advance order for around 200-300 copies and in just half-an-hour, around a hundred of these were sold.
The publisher and the distributor had taken all precautions to ensure that the book is not made available or its contents leaked before the official release.
The first copies of the book reached the booksellers on Saturday at around 7 am.
The book, published by Bloomsbury and brought to India by Penguin, is priced at Rs 975 and customers who have placed advance orders get a discount varying from five per cent to 25 per cent.
Bookstores in the capital had organised Harry Potter theme parties and games to coincide with the release of the latest book.
The Oxford book store in Delhi organised a 'Hogwarts Carnival' that included a quiz and a crossword contest.
The Full Circle bookstore had organised an event that included a paid breakfast for Potter fans.
Internationally, the final Potter book has become on-line retailer Amazon's most pre-ordered product with almost 1.6 million copies bought globally ahead of the release.
The six books published thus far have sold 325 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 64 languages, while four films have grossed $3.5 billion worldwide.WARNING: THE HARRY POTTER DISCUSSION BOARDS BELOW ARE LIKELY TO REVEAL PLOT DETAILS AND SPOILERS FROM THE NEW BOOK. POTTER FANS WHO HAVE NOT YET READ THE BOOK ARE ADVISED NOT TO SCROLL DOWN.