Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



It's getting Harry: F-M bookstores prepare for new Potter release

There won't be any magic secret to getting the new Harry Potter book July 16. But if you know a spell for speeding the time spent standing in line, it might come in handy.

There won't be any magic secret to getting the new Harry Potter book July 16. But if you know a spell for speeding the time spent standing in line, it might come in handy.

Stores are finalizing plans for the 12:01 a.m. July 16 release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the sixth book in J.K. Rowling's popular series about a young wizard and his travails.

Those plans involve release parties beginning the night of July 15 and culminating with sale of the book at the earliest possible time.

In Fargo, the most elaborate system for keeping a lid on Harry Potter mania appears to be at the Barnes & Noble store.

Cindy Snelling, community relations manager for the store, says that starting at 9 a.m. July 15 those seeking a book will be able to pick up special bracelets there. Bracelets are yellow for people who have pre-ordered the book and orange for those who have not.


Buyers also will be able to pick up fliers printed on red, green, yellow or blue paper. Once the book goes on sale, yellow bracelet holders will be lined up according to the color on the flier; if they don't have a flier, they'll have to go to the back of the line for their bracelet color.

Harry Potter-themed activities will begin at the store at 9 p.m. July 15, with crafts including mask, wand and potion-making and a life-sized cutout of Harry Potter available for those who want their picture taken with the young wizard. Costume contests are planned for both children and adults.

Just before the new book goes on sale, a store staffer will read the final chapter of the last book, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which came out two years ago. After midnight, when the book goes on sale, there will be a reading of the first chapter to keep young fans occupied while their parents wait for the book.

Snelling says Barnes & Noble doesn't release the exact number of books available, although "it's a pretty good-sized number. I know this is the largest first print in history."

As of the end of June, Barnes & Noble received more than 750,000 pre-orders nationwide, she says.

The store is expecting at least 500 people and some may have to wait in line outside if the store gets too crowded, Snelling says. It also will open at 8 a.m. - an hour early - later in the morning of the first day of sale.

Barnes & Noble isn't the only place in Fargo holding a party.

Jesse Morgan, sales floor supervisor at Media Play, says activities there will start at 9 p.m. with kids' games, giveaways and a costume contest.


For those who don't get their book immediately when it goes on sale after midnight, the store will open two hours early July 16, at 8 a.m.

Morgan says Media Play has about 1,200 copies of the book coming in, but that includes reserved copies and "a lot of people are reserving them" - probably around half.

He expects sales of the new book to be at least as good, if not better, than previous installments. Sales have been helped because many people who started as kids with the first book, 1998's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," have grown into adults that still read the books but now can buy them for themselves, he says.

The parties at the Fargo Barnes & Noble and Media Play stores both are listed on www.potterparties.com , a worldwide catalog of release-day events.

B. Dalton in West Acres will begin its pre-sale party at 9 p.m. July 15 and will start selling books just after midnight, says assistant manager Deb Gustafson.

She says the store will be showing Harry Potter movies, complete with popcorn and pop, and will have games for kids who don't want to sit still for the film.

The store will stay open until all buyers are satisfied, then reopen at 7 a.m. the same day for wizard fans who prefer morning.

Toys 'R' Us also will be selling books.


Store director Todd Sawrey says he doesn't know how many total books his store has, but 120 of them have been reserved.

But Sawrey doesn't expect a run on Harry Potter toys.

"Those generally do not come to coincide with the book releases," he says. "They will coincide with the movie releases. The books have not caught on that way yet. I think it's a visual thing."

The Harry Potter phenomenon isn't magic for everyone.

"We will have some books to sell," says Greg Danz, owner of Zandbroz Variety in downtown Fargo. "It's not a huge deal for us. Most people realize (they) don't need to be there midnight of the first day to get it."

He'll have perhaps 10 to 15 copies available, Danz says. Because it's such a huge phenomenon, independent booksellers often feel the least magic.

Bigger booksellers can buy in volume, allowing them to undercut independents on the price, Danz says. And the book is so popular that it's available virtually everywhere.

"Everybody who sells a book will have that book," he says.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Pantera at (701) 241-5541

What To Read Next
Get Local