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Amazon sells 2.5 million Harry Potters

No magical effect on profits though

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Amazon beat the Street's expectations for its third quarter but still seemed to disappoint traders yesterday. Shares fell sharply in after-hours trading after rising more than ten per cent during the day.

The bookseller also showed exactly how low-margin a low-margin web business can be. Despite turnover of more than $3bn the company made just $80m in profit.

Net sales for the quarter ended 30 September 2007 grew 41 per cent to $3.26bn and net profit was up 313 per cent to $80m.

The biggest release of the year was the latest and last Harry Potter tome - Amazon sold 2.5m copies of the book.

International sales from Germany, Japan, France, China and the UK were $1.47bn, up 40 per cent on the same period of 2006. US sales were up by a similar amount, 42 per cent, to $1.79bn.

Amazon said over 290,000 developers have now signed up to use Amazon Web Services, up 25,000 from the previous quarter. ®

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