Losses at etail giant Amazon.com halved in the second quarter as Harry Potter cast a spell on book sales.

Amazon conjured a deficit of $43.3 million (€38.0m; £27.0m) in the three months to June, well down on the $93.6m shortfall booked in Q2 last year, as sales soared 37% to $1.1 billion.

The online titan said it benefited from its ongoing free shipping offer and from shifting 1.4m copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Its core media business – including books, CDs and videos – saw sales surge 33% to $865m as a result.

Amazon was also boosted by a leap in sales outside its home US market. While North American revenues grew 20% to $703m, those elsewhere leapt 81% to $397m (or +56% in constant currencies).

As a result of the strong Q2, Amazon hiked its full-year sales forecast to between $4.9bn and $5.1bn, up from earlier estimates of $4.7bn.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff