The film won’t be out for six months but canny Internet marketing and a lift gained from the Harry Potter frenzy have made JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy best-sellers all over again.

When a 90-second trailer for the first of three films called Fellowship of the Ring and due out in December – was shown on the web it was downloaded 350 million times in three months. And in the past year, fuelled by demand for ‘anything like Potter’, 1.7 million Tolkien books have been sold here.

“It’s a nice thing for a book that’s 50 years old,” says the happy markeing director of publisher Houghton Mifflin.