Saturday, July 21, 2007

End of the wizard

Today, the last of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, went on sale worldwide. When you consider the logistical effort it would take to simultaneously release the book across the world while keeping its contents under wraps, you must give credit to the publishers. But then, they may have had Harry Potter and his magic wand's help, so you'd be forgiven if you thought it was no big deal. But the hype was.

People lined up across the world to be the first, or at least the earliest to buy the book. Many camped outside the bookstore overnight. This is reminiscent of the time when Microsoft's Windows 95 was first released. But really, was it necessary? The wait has already been a long one, what difference would another hour or two make? If you had placed an order with (and there was reportedly more than 2 million orders as of yesterday), you'd have to wait even longer to get your hands on the book.

So I am not so sure that those people who spent their lives in the early queue were making good use of their time. I strolled into Popular Bookstore at about 9am and bought the book. I didn't make a special effort to be early. I usually go out for breakfast at this hour. As it turned out, I was only the second person in the queue and there weren't anybody else in the store except the sales staff. When I left the store, one other person strolled in, probably to buy the HP book.

Perhaps all this craze is evidence of Potter's strong magic? Sadly, there will be magic no more, although the way the story ended suggests a sequel some day... That's being commercially sensible quite apart from having a relatively tearless ending.

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