A New York shop has accidentally sold a copy of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince prior to the official release date of July 16. 

Mandy Muldoon and her son Sylum Mastropaolo, nine, saw the sixth book in the Harry Potter series for sale at a pharmacy and bought it immediately. The shop later ordered the customer to return it. Sylum's step-father Mike Muldoon says, "We're going to do the right thing. We don't want to ruin it for other kids and take away from the experience of everyone reading it together."

Manager Christine Ekblom is convinced this was the only copy sold, and quickly removed the novels from her store. She explains, "They were pulled off an hour after they were put on the shelves. It was a mistake."

Scholastic publishing have promised Sylum his own copy, along with a gift pack as a gesture of gratitude. Publishers have attempted to keep the latest release in the fantasy saga top secret - but they were foiled last Thursday when fourteen books were inadvertently sold in Canada. A judge commanded the customers to stay silent about the book, and forbade them to sell it or even look at it before Saturday.