The magic actually begins a few hours earlier at MPH, I Utama where you are invited to a Harry Potter themed party dressed up as a witch or a wizard, and participate in games, Harry Potterish food, dancing and lots more! Register at 03 7781 1800 with Aliza or Farhana. (More news of Potter parties around the country in this Starmag article.)
The series has sold 325 million copies worldwide and made its author very rich indeed.
But back in the world of the Muggles, not everything is so hunky-dory.
First, of course, there was there was the killjoy hacker who posted a spoiler on the internet, claiming that he had managed to tap into publisher Bloomsbury's computer. (Was he right or wrong? Well we will know soon!)
The logistics of getting the book to the stores for Saturday morning while safeguarding its secrecy are staggering. (Just look at what "Operation Harry" in Australia involves!)
No doubt there will be tales of piracy and skullduggery as the deadline nears, as there was last time. There's some speculation also that some non-bookshop businesses could break the embargo to make a quick buck in the UK.
Not all booksellers are rubbing their hands in glee. Back in April Mr. Raman of Silverfish Books highlighted the fact that it makes little economic sense for independent booksellers to stock the book ... and I learned the other day that he will be interviewed by the BBC about this!*
But shouldn't we all be celebrating the fact that the series lures the young onto the righteous path of reading and gets 'em hooked? Says Motoko Rich in the New York Times.
Before Harry Potter, it was virtually unheard of for kids to queue up for a mere book. Children who had previously read short chapter books were suddenly plowing through more than 700 pages in a matter of days.Unfortunately, according to studies carried out in the US:
... the series, in the end, has not permanently tempted children to put down their Game Boys and curl up with a book instead. Some kids have found themselves daunted by the growing size of the books (“Sorcerer’s Stone” was 309 pages; “Deathly Hallows,” will be 784). Others say that Harry Potter does not have as much resonance as titles that more realistically reflect their daily lives. “The Harry Potter craze was a very positive thing for kids,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts ... “It got millions of kids to read a long and reasonably complex series of books. The trouble is that one Harry Potter novel every few years is not enough to reverse the decline in reading.”But let's not end on such a low note. if you're taking part in the Potter mania this weekend, I hope you have a great time and a thoroughly delicious read.
And don't forget that helpline for distraught Potter fans who can't believe the series has actually come to an end! (Eyeris' take on this very funny!)
*Some bookshops in Britain are also set to lose out. Says Nicholas Clee of Harry Potter on the Guardian blog:
He was one of the factors contributing to the demise of Ottakar's, which incurred big marketing costs in promoting him before seeing supermarkets and Amazon cream off most of the sales. Waterstone's, which bought Ottakar's, has warned that it will not make any money out of The Deathly Hallows. Independent booksellers cannot compete with their loss-leading rivals; a quarter of them have said that they will not stock the book.Nicholas Lezard, meanwhile, has problems with Rowling's style.
Skulduggery indeed. Some one has posted photos of pages of what could be the book on the internet, The Australian reports.
Someone posted a spoiler in the comments on this blog - but I erased it. It really isn't fair on the fans.
(Photo above from the Sydney Morning Herald shows copies of the book arriving in the warehouse.)