Magic at midnight

Magic at midnight

The book’s storyline is so coveted that every shop selling it has had to sign a 200-page legal document saying that they will not touch it until Saturday.They are not allowed to read it or let their staff take a quick glimpse until it goes on sale.

Nor are they allowed to let on when the boxes of books are due to arrive in the Island or when they plan to unpack them.Nick Thorne, a director of the Printed Word Bookshop, thought the excitement was good for the industry but had perhaps been taken to extremes.

‘It is obviously a trade secret, but is it a state secret?’ he said.The hype surrounds the latest installment of JK Rowling’s seven-part series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the excitement is being reflected in the approach shops are taking to turn the sale into a big event.Queues are expected not only because of the popularity of the book, but because Ms Rowling yesterday admitted that somewhere within the 766-page text, one of the key characters is killed.De Gruchy’s and WH Smith will be opening for about one hour at midnight on Friday so that Harry Potter enthusiasts can be among the first to own the book.

Both shops have checked with the parish authorities that opening at this rather unusual time will not be a problem.

The two stores will then reopen at 7 am.WH Smith and the Printed Word Bookshop are taking a quiet approach to the day, simply piling the books up and selling them as normal.De Gruchy’s and Ottakar’s, however, will be adding a little magic.

De Gruchy’s start their celebrations at 10 am when fire-breathing wizards are expected to descend outside the store, along with a four-foot owl borrowed from Samarès Manor.A breakfast banquet, including jam tarts and pastries, is planned at Ottakar’s between 7 am and 9 am.

At 10 am there will be a reading of the first chapter of the book and children are invited to come along in fancy dress.

At 11 am people can set to work making their own wizard’s hats.The marketing manager at de Gruchy’s, Karl Stewart, said: ‘It started at the beginning as a children’s book.

Now adults have been introduced to it and the hype has got a lot of people interested.

The book has even been stolen and turned up in a ditch.

There has been plenty of good PR.

It is the biggest book launch of all time.’

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