Monday, July 23, 2007

HP7: Magic But Not Too Much Mayhem

Harry Potter mania reached a fever pitch this past weekend with the highly anticipated release of the final installment in the series, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. Our initial shipment of 1800 books arrived Thursday afternoon and were immediately put in lockdown.

There they are, under that blue tarp! Exciting, isn't it?

And, underneath the blue tarp, a black tarp! The publisher really wasn't taking any chances with this book.

We've been slavishly devoted to our countdown easels, and it was delightful to walk into work on Friday morning and see this.

Kris, the head of our children's department, working the party on Friday evening. I heard a small child ask her, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" Anyone who knows Kris knows she is absolutely a good witch.
Laura, who's in charge of our customer service department, at one point during the evening heard a lot of shouting and screaming, and she ran to find out what the commotion was. She found a group of five young wizards, fully attired in their Hogwarts robes, all circling one another, wands held high, yelling, "Stupefy!"

It seems that every character in Harry Potter's universe has his or her fans.

These folks picked up their vouchers early and immediately got in line; they had a nearly 4-hour wait until they could pick up their books.

The graffiti wall. Among the many sentiments: "Voldemort waz framed," "Hermione is my hero," "Snape will save Harry. Again," "Your aura matters," and "Draco Malfoy is sexy!" My favorite: "DEATH EATERS BRING IT."

At the face painting table, a fan receives her own personal dark mark.

Looks like the bake sale went well!

With midnight nearing, the paseo cleared out as fans made their way into the store to get in line. When Erin, head of our receiving department, rolled out the first dolly filled with cartons of HP7, she was treated like a rock star: people applauded and wanted to pose for pictures with her.
Ready to trade those vouchers in!

At last: the boxes opened, the books unleashed! Once we started handing books out, the line went very quickly because of our voucher system: over 800 books were put into the hands of eager fans in less than 20 minutes.

Almost to the head of the line. This fan had an owl atop his hat, although the bird looks a little worse for wear here. An omen of things to come?
Kurt works the (relatively) quiet Will Call counter upstairs.

Helen, our very own Harry Potter doppelganger.

Mission accomplished!

Have you picked up your vouchers yet? May I direct you to the line downstairs? No, sorry, Draco Malfoy is not signing autographs tonight.

Books in hand, fans start to head home so they can begin reading.

Come to think of it... why wait to get home?

Harry, it's past your bedtime.
Speaking of past bedtime: The vouchers we handed out Friday night expired at 12:30 a.m. Our doors were locked and we were in the process of closing up the store at 1 a.m. when a group of girls knocked on our back door, waving their vouchers and pleading to pick up their books. They were all wearing homemade t-shirts and looked like serious fans. The doors were unlocked and we yelled, "Where have you been?" Three of the girls looked accusingly at the fourth, who was voucherless. Apparently, the group had been to Vroman's in plenty of time to pick up their vouchers; then they went with the fourth to The Chain Store Which Must Not Be Named and waited in line for HOURS so she could get her lone copy, which had not been pre-rung as our books had. Poor kid -- she could've been home already enjoying her book if she had pre-ordered from her local independent bookstore! Instead, all of them missed the live music, fortunetellers, baked goodies, and more at our party while they waited in line elsewhere. We gave her three friends their copies and sent them on their way, all of them perhaps a little wiser.
Thanks to our loyal customers, we had a bang-up weekend, full of fun and excitement. We also sold over 2000 copies of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. Thank you to everyone who supports Vroman's and other independent bookstores across the nation -- we couldn't do it without you!
Check our MySpace page later today for more pictures of our Harry Potter festivities and our ongoing Edge Summer Series.


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