Monday, July 23, 2007
HP AND ALL THE DRAMA
JULY 21st marked the long awaited world wide release of the seventh Harry Potter book, which is also the final in the series.
There's a whole big fat marketing strategy involved, where major bookstores held pre-order sales for fans to book their copies months ahead to avoid disappointment of sold out books on launching day. To make things more interesting, they promised a small discount plus threw in a freebie and a possible invite to a mad pre-launch party.
Of course, initially when the first book (HP and the Philosopher's Stone) was released, there was not much ado. Many years later, books 1 to 3 were shoved right under my nose, and hence began my interest in the books, where I was fervently looking for a copy of GOF to read (I was still a student back then and buying the book was quite out of the question) I got it in electronic format though and spent a few days straining my eyes over the computer screen, but it was all well worth it.
It was however, the launch of OOTP (Order of the Phoenix) that sort of caught my attention, as it was only then I realised that the fans are crazy (lining up for hours at the bookshop entrances to get their hands on the books) and that there were promotions all around and stuff. Having still being quite penniless at that time (I was temping at a place in SJ at that time), I sort of stayed away from the crowds, and read the book when my sister managed to borrow a copy from one of her friends... I only bought the book almost a year later when they practically slashed the price by half.
Even for HBP which surfaced around July 2005, I thought that buying the book upon launching was not a wise decision, as I was waiting for the paperback edition due out the following year. Besides, someone had spilled the beans about the death of a certain prominent character (but not how or when) But then, just about a week after the release of the book, a friend of mine gives me the book, and I'm suddenly in the thick of the action!
This year however, things were different... firstly, it is the final book. Crazy anticipation like this most probably will never happen again in this lifetime and I decided (rather impulsively on a certain depressing weekend, that I did want to jump onto the band wagon of pre-orderers) I thought that maybe for just this one time, it would be fun to join in the crazy anticipation for the book, maybe dress up as a witch or something.... Mostly, I didn't want my fun to be spoiled by unscrupulous rumour mongers who will leak out the plot without any regard for others (It happened last year in the STAR newspapers... twas a big drama back then too!)
Just my luck, though... this time around, the hypermarkets decided to crash into the scene. "No need to pre-order, just join us at 7 am. Bloody breakfast will be served" so they said on the radio. To top it all off, they've slashed the prices by a whopping 36%. So now, the major bookstores have decided to go on a protest by not selling the books, but they will honour the pre-orders though no extra discount is offered, the usual pomp and fanfare that accompanied previous launches were not there, no posters were put up, maybe even the party which was supposed to be on Friday night was cancelled. All there was was a note of apology to the customers for the cancelled festivities as well as some information regarding their protest and the non selling of the books!
So in the midst of all these drama surrounding the most anticipated book of the year, who is on the losing side? Seriously, I'm not too sure myself. Maybe we should ask Penguin Malaysia.
The book is currently in the house right now... my sister read it first and I've just completed reading the book in an 8 hour span... Boy, do I feel empty right now... :)