Saturday, July 21, 2007
The final Harry Potter book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has gone on sale today. The book was launched simultaneously across the world.
The book launched first in the UK, where the book went on sale from midnight. Fans in one central London bookshop started joining the queue from 10:30 p.m., which soon reached the door of the shop and out onto the street. The book chain Waterstone’s held ‘Harry Potter parties’, giving out free glasses of wine and snacks. The mood was good-natured and jolly, with some fans dressed up in costume.
New Zealand fans of the series had a launch time of 11.01 a.m. (NZST). Due to high competition among major retail chains, the book was being sold for as little as NZ$32.99 at Whitcoulls; a profit margin of four cents with each book sold. The recommended retail price was NZ$55.00. Many supermarkets in the UK cut prices even further as a publicity stunt with, for example, ASDA selling copies at a loss, at about 1/4 of the recommended retail price.
It was also an early release for Australian fans of the series, at 9.01 a.m. (Sydney). A Sydney Borders store had a line reaching out halfway across the street. In Brisbane City, Borders had a line from the shop, down the street and around the corner.
150 fans in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, were waiting outside a Border’s bookstore at 8.00 a.m. to be some of the first to get their hands on a copy. A bookstore nearby, Dymocks, also had a large crowd, an estimated 100 people were waiting. One person arriving there at 6.30 a.m. At one New Zealand Whitcoulls store, they had a entertainer/magician keeping fans entertained while waiting for 11.01 a.m. In Germany, however, some bookshops were disappointed with the turnout for the Harry Potter book launch events.
The Harry Potter series has already sold 325 million copies worldwide. 1.3 million of those were sold in New Zealand, a quarter of New Zealand’s population. The Wikipedia article on the latest book became disabled for editing by unregistered and newly registered users within 5 minutes of the book’s release.