Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TOP STORY >>Harry Potter fans jam stores, library

Leader staff writer

Harry Potter fans lined up in full force Friday night at bookstores throughout the area to get their copies of “Deathly Hollows,” the final book in the series.

Brandi Madill, assistant manager of Hastings Books, Music and Video store in Jacksonville, said the midnight release party was a huge hit. So many people participated, she couldn’t even estimate the numbers.

“We had a great turnout. We had a costume and trivia contest, which was a lot of fun,” Madill said. “We had an assortment of hats available for the kids, little word games to play and even kid-friendly butter beer for the kids to drink.”

Madill said butter beer is a famous drink from the book and store employees had a good time fixing up their own recipe.
Madill couldn’t tell how many books the store had ordered for the event but said the store still has about 100 copies for sale.Fans dressed in costumes, played games and made wands at the store.

At Wal-Mart, enthusiasts lined up to get their copy of the final book.

The Central Arkansas Library System, with branches in Jacksonville, Sherwood, Little Rock, Maumelle and Perryville, had 90 copies with 145 people on the waiting list for the book. The system also had waiting lists for audiotapes and CDs of the book, according to the library’s Web site.

Kathy Seymour, manager of the Esther D. Nixon Library in Jacksonville, said her branch received six of the 90 copies and they were out the door before employees could even view them.

“Each library within the CAL system held a raffle before the book came out, and one lucky winner received the first copy to keep for a month from each branch,” Seymour said. “We had the books delivered to us on Friday and we started making calls to those on hold to pick them up on Saturday.”

Since the books had to stay under lock and key until Saturday the library employees never even got to read the book before it came out, and according to Seymour, the book will not be returned for a long time since the waiting list has so many people on it.

“Anyone with a CAL library card can go online and reserve a copy of any title we have,” she said. “Once a book is returned then we contact the next person in line on the hold list to pick up their book. The audio books are not in yet and we have holds on those as well. I think they are due to come out in 10 to 15 days.”

Olivia Harris, who is in charge of children programs at the library, said the winner of the raffle for the book was the most excited person Saturday. “In years past, people would be at the doors waiting, but this year the little boy who won and his mom came in and she took photos of him with his book,” Harris said. “All others who had the book on hold were adults and they just came in and got their copy. But the little boy was so happy.”

Harris said the boys’ mother told her he had won a few other things earlier in the week and it just “seemed to be his lucky week.”

Although many chose to purchase the book rather than borrow it from a library, the Arlene Cherry Library in Cabot also has a waiting list for the last chapter in the tale of Harry Potter.

“We received seven regular-print books, one large-print and two audio-books and they are all checked out,” Leeann Boyd with the Cabot library said. “There are 12 people on the waiting list for the book and five on the waiting list for the audio book,” she said.

They too didn’t have the chance to read it, but employees at the Cabot library at least got to see the books before they were all checked out.

“We got to cover them with our protective plastic,” Boyd said.Rowling’s Harry Potter books have sold 325 million copies in 64 languages. “Deathly Hallows” has a print run of 12 million in the U.S. alone.

Heather Hartsell, Leader staff writer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.