Poised for Pottermania

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On the Eve of Massive Bookselling Weekend Booksellers Encouraged to Report to Book Sense Bestseller List

As consumer expectation continues to build amid a growing barrage of media coverage, independent booksellers nationwide finalized last-minute details for special Harry Potter events in anticipation of 12:01 a.m. June 21 -- when copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Scholastic) officially go on sale.

With the potential of a weekend's robust sales of both Order of the Phoenix and Hillary Clinton's Living History (S&S), independent booksellers are being strongly encouraged to report to the Book Sense Bestsellers list. Meg Zelickson Smith, associate director of Book Sense marketing, noted to BTW that ABA has already received numerous press inquires about the Potter sales and the book's effect on other book sales.

"We do understand that this will be an especially busy weekend, but when the media are swarming around bookstores for stories about Harry and Hillary, reporting to the Book Sense Bestseller List especially matters," she said. "Monster books are news, so bookstores become news, and what a great opportunity to help increase coverage of independent bookselling." She noted, too, that if ABA has enough sales information, it will be able to provide data to booksellers who have been contacted by local media regarding Potter-related stories.

Some important Book Sense Bestseller List reporting reminders:

  • Reporting hours begin on Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. EST and end the following Tuesday morning, at 3:00 a.m. EST.
  • If you are a BookScan participant, please report prior to 11:00 p.m. EST on Monday for your data to be included for the week.
  • Bill Cunningham at (800) 637-0037, ext. 1211 ([email protected]), can help you with any technical difficulties or general reporting questions.

In other Potter news:

  • The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has created a flier that it hopes booksellers will insert into copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to alert consumers about attempts to censor books in the Harry Potter series. The flier is available online in PDF format at www.abffe.com and outlines the recent banning of Harry Potter books in an Arkansas public school that was successfully challenged by two parents. The flier also calls for Potter fans to learn more about fighting for free speech by either visiting the ABFFE online resource for children's involvement with freedom of expression, kidSPEAK! (www.kidspeakonline.org), or by joining ABFFE.
  • Scholastic and U.K. publisher Bloomsbury Scholastic are co-sponsoring a live Webcast on June 26 that will feature author J.K. Rowling. The event, from London's Royal Albert Hall, will be available live via the Internet at http://harrypotter.msn.com on Thursday, June 26, beginning at noon EDT and will be archived online for seven days. More than 900 schools applied for the 4,000 tickets to the event, where Rowling will talk with actor and author Stephen Fry (who narrates the Potter audiobooks in Britain), read excerpts from Order of the Phoenix, and answer questions submitted by young readers.

    Scholastic noted that the Web-simulcast, just five days after the book's release, is another opportunity for booksellers to create an event for kids and families that will generate further excitement and position bookstore events as a major focus in their communities for information about Harry Potter, books, and reading.

  • If booksellers are aware of a breach in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on-sale date, they are encouraged to call Scholastic customer service at (800) 242-7737, option 2.
  • Booksellers with Book Sense are encouraged to enter the Make Some Magic With Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sweepstakes display contest for the chance to win a $2,000 credit for Scholastic books (present or future). To qualify for the bookseller prize, stores must submit pictures of their Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix display to Book Sense's Meg Smith by July 31. Pictures may be in digital or print format and may be sent by e-mail or post by the July 31 deadline. Questions should be addressed to Smith at (800) 637-0037, ext. 1239, or [email protected]. (For more on the display contest, click here.)