NEW YORK, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Harry Potter fans will be counting down to the July 25, 2006 release of the paperback version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with an exciting six-week sweepstakes from Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter series. Beginning March 1st and continuing with a new installment every Wednesday for six weeks, the sweepstakes at www.scholastic.com/harrypotter offers fans a chance to win the grand-prize of a Harry Potter iPod(R) package which includes a 30GB iPod(R) etched with the crest of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and all six downloadable audiobooks from the iTunes(R) Music Store, plus a copy of the Deluxe U.S. edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with a bookplate signed by author J.K. Rowling. Every Wednesday, fans can take part in the weekly online poll, one for each of the books published to date. Each week the poll will contain a different printable Harry Potter book cover to be pasted onto a downloadable entry form. After all six Harry Potter covers have been collected, the entry form can be mailed in for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Just for entering, every participant will receive a Harry Potter bookmark. All complete entries must be received by April 24th, 2006 and winners will be announced at www.scholastic.com/harrypotter on May 1st, 2006. "We know how passionate the Harry Potter fans are and we wanted to give them something new and exciting to expand their reading experience," stated Suzanne Murphy, Vice President of Scholastic Trade Marketing. "While old fans will love the online activities and interactive features, readers new to the series can be introduced into the magical world of Harry Potter." The fabulous Harry Potter "Wednesdays" Sweepstakes Prizes include: 3 Grand Prize Winners will receive: * 1 Harry Potter iPod(R) package which includes a 30GB iPod(R), etched with the crest of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and all six downloadable audiobooks from the iTunes(R) Music Store. * 1 Deluxe U.S. Edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince containing a bookplate signed by J.K. Rowling. 6 First Prize Winners will receive: * A "Give the Gift of Harry" set which includes: -- 2 Harry Potter hardcover Boxed Sets (one for the winner and one to give to a friend who wants to start reading Harry Potter) In addition to the sweepstakes, the website will offer fun features over the next few months, to countdown to the release of the paperback book. The site will feature monthly installments on each of the six Harry Potter books, plus an exclusive Harry Potter desktop wallpaper and a new printable Harry Potter poster. Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, will release the paperback edition of J.K. Rowling's sixth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, on July 25, 2006. With a first printing of 2 million copies, the paperback version brings the total number of all six Harry Potter books in print in the U.S. to over 120 million. The paperback edition will have a suggested retail price of $9.99 at 672 pages. In the United States alone, the hardcover edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours, making it the fastest selling book in publishing history. The book hit stores at midnight on July 16, 2005. With an unprecedented initial print run of 10.8 million, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince broke all industry records, including that set in June 2003 by Rowling's fifth novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Since their publication all six Harry Potter titles have remained on bestseller lists.