As the clock keeps ticking toward the magic hour when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
is released – 12:01 a.m. this coming Saturday – fans eager to find out whether their hero lives or dies are under attack by an invasion of spoilers.
While the fifth Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
, is setting box-office records, one bulky item hitting the Internet purports to offer the entire text of the upcoming 7th and final installment of the book series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
On one site, a copy of the book – all 784 pages, including 36 chapters and a seven-page epilogue – appears to have been photographed spread out on a carpet as a hand holds down the pages, the Associated Press reports.
Foiling those who would spoil the surprises is the book's American publisher, Scholastic, Inc. The company's message for Harry
fans: Don't believe everything you read.
"There is a lot of material on the Internet that claims to come from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,
", says Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good, "but anyone can post anything on the Internet, and you can't believe everything you see online."
On her own Web site
Wednesday, author J.K. Rowling said, "I'd like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to reading the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know EVERYTHING!"
Scholastic's statement adds that the company has directed its lawyers to order any such spoilers to remove the content from the Web, though Good admits it's a formidable job. "I'm guessing we're in the double digits," she says of the alleged book bandits.
On the other hand, helping chase down the culprits are the fans themselves, who reportedly are tipping off the publisher to the sites where Harry's final secrets are being leaked.
According to Good, "There's a groundswell from fans who find these links and send them to us, saying, 'I'm not going to look
at this, but somebody told me about it.' " (Scholastic is not saying whether anything that's been spilled online is genuine.)
Rowling, who has said this is probably her final book
, has revealed that two major characters will die – but has begged readers not to give away the ending.
And some aren't. Fan sites such as Mugglenet
have shunned such spoilers.