Sunday, July 22, 2007

Things I've Learned From Selling Harry Potter

1. People who are into it are suspicious of those who are not. They shut down and back away; won't look you in the eye.

2. I began to think to myself by the end of the night that maybe I should buy one. It's not because I would read it right away, and it's not because I think it'll become a collector's edition anytime soon - they printed so many millions of them. It's because they became a commodity like a cell phone or an ipod - you simply must have one! What, you don't have one yet? You're a holdout.

3. Only one person asked for it by its full name. "Hi, do you have a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?" I laughed. He said, "why are you laughing?" I told him that most others truncated it. "The new Harry Potter book?" "Harry Potter?" "Harry?" These were the timid ones.

4. People from every fashion, age- and income-range of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora are seeking out this book.

5. I wish I lived in a big, spooky castle where I could creep through damp hallways with a candelabrum and then arrive at a stony, tapestried room, where I would then sit and read James and the Giant Peach.

6. As a bookseller, there has been and is no other thing in the store that is sold with the same ferocity as This. (Well, one thing - but I won't go into that). This becomes the opposite of the "forest for the trees" thing.

7. Many people deny themselves sleep.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Don't Usually Do This

I am generally quite against blog posts that are comprised of nothing but diatribes about this or that, but I am disgusted with Scholastic. I can't believe how lawsuit-crazy they have become. Remember when you were in elementary school and you'd get those thin little newspapers that invited you into the Weekly Reader Book Club, and many of those books were Scholastic books, struggling to get noticed and bought for the totally reasonable price of a dollar ninety-nine? Now Scholastic is pretty much giving the finger to any little kid on a budget that can't afford a thirty-five dollar book. It's a cash cow, but it's a book for kids, so it's ethically sound - this renders its makers untouchable. It lives again, reincarnated by the wonder of film. It's a bit Augustus Gloop.