The recent release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final instalment in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series of children's novels, has helped give online retailer Amazon an astonishing boost in profits.

Amazon today announced second-quarter 2007 profits of $78m, three times those of the same period in 2006. These figures, it is believed, were given a hefty shove by early interest in the novel, as Pottermaniacs visited the site to read news on the launch, register preorders, purchase previous instalments and possibly even buy grown-up books. Sales of HPATDH itself will count towards the next quarter's revenues, so the surge is sure to continue for a while at least.

Amazon founder Jeffrey P Bezos, who has clearly been overtaken by the magic of Harry Potter, said: "Our strong revenue growth this quarter was fuelled by low prices and the added convenience of Amazon Prime. We're pleased with the acceleration in subscriber growth this quarter."

Internet booksellers, then, will be as sorry to see the Harry Potter series reach its conclusion as JK Rowling's army of readers - most of whom are in our opinion far too old and ought to know better. Amazon hopes to fill the wizard-shaped gap in its revenues with a scheme to sell digital music, while London's commuters, presumably, will turn their attention to the latest Paddington Bear, or possibly Biggles.

[Via The New York Times]