Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Potter Mania - Australia Style

I freely admit to being a fan of Harry Potter. Actually, I'm not particularly enamored of the characters or even the plot. Indeed the book was always average in my opinion. What I've loved about the Harry Potter experience is the energy and interest it has developed in the publishing world.

The book was released at 7AM Saturday July 21st, 2007 here in Western Australia. It was 9AM in the Australian Eastern States and midnight in the UK. Book Stores took advantage of the wonderful release time and the Western Australian stores opened for a 7AM special event. I had the pleasure of being one of the first few hundred to stand in line.

It was a dismal day. Pounding rain made driving a challenge and the sun was just beginning to give the dementorish clouds a silver sheen. My children, a seven and three year old, were half asleep but also excited. It was an adventure. The 30 minute drive into town was spent with chatter and our car felt like it was encased in a bubble charm under the Black Lake.

Even at such abnormal weather conditions and an abysmal hour the car park was swiftly crowded. The rain didn't deter me from finding a bay and we got wet sprinting across the slick surface but thankfully arrived in time to take shelter. There were many less fortunate Potter fans that were forced to stand out in the rain behind us.

The queue buzzed with eager anticipation and chatted up and down the lines in their own groups or with strangers. Witches hats, wizard robes and wands were brandished with enthusiasm and house scarves added splashes of color to the gloomy early morning darkness.

Impatient children were guided away from their patient families to enjoy "Stick the scar on Harry" and "Pin the pig tail on Dudley". These diversions were followed by potion making and incantations. The queue stepped up and I moved closer to the front desk where Dymocks staff were working hard to ensure each customer got given a copy of their pre-ordered book.

The event was very well organized. Extra security was on hand to ensure the crowd was kept orderly and the high spirits of the waiting fans didn't lead to mischief. Muggings, while talked about with half-humorous winks amongst those waiting, didn't actually eventuate.

The coffee shop was well situated and also opened early in anticipation of hundreds of thirsty readers who couldn't wait to get home before cracking the spines of their new 600+ page books.

Everything went incredibly smoothly and it would be interesting to find out what the stores take, outside of Harry Potter books, actually came to. That is perhaps the only downfall I noticed. While the store sold J.K. Rowling books in the thousands customers didn't seem to be lingering to browse the other titles available.

It was an interesting excursion. I'm looking forward to other forays into the industry. I'd love to enjoy a reading and a book signing at some stage. Not Harry Potter of course but something a little less manic. I enjoyed letting my mind wander and picturing my name on the cover of books readers gathered around coffee tables to enjoy immediately after purchase. Maybe someday...

Now Available! Harry Potter books 1-6 boxed set
Check out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Amazon

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