Sunday, July 09, 2000

'Potter' book does vanishing act




By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In Harry Potter's world, “muggles” is the word for humans who don't have magical powers. These muggles might have wished for such abilities to summon a copy of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Scholastic, $25.95), which sold out from some Tristate bookstores in hours Saturday morning.

        The widely anticipated book was released Saturday at 12:01 a.m. For every store that sold out, there was another store manager lamenting over the possibility of empty shelves today.

        One Northern Kentucky Barnes & Noble sold out during Saturday's early morning Harry Potter party.

        Amy Stanton, assistant manager of the Florence store, said she didn't know how many books had sold, but that selling out at that rate was unprecedented.

        One bookstore employee said he's never seen so many people vying for a new book.

        “We've had crowds like this for book signings, but as long as I've been here, we've never seen this for a release of a book,” said Jeff Bentle, floor manager at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood.

        By 6 p.m., the store had sold about 750 of its allotment of 1,100 of the books.

        “I like the element of mystery,” said Cameron Williams, 13, who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., and is visiting relatives in town. She waited in line at the Norwood Joseph-Beth with the book in hand. “I pre-ordered a book at home, but I had to get it now so I can read it on the plane,” she said.

        Barnes & Noble in Hyde Park Plaza sold out of its 300 copies Saturday afternoon.

        “Sales are going fantastic; we've had a good steady stream of people all day,” said Alex Ferraro, head of the children's department, earlier in the day. “This morning it was in spurts, and now it's just a steady stream.”

        Pam Edminston of Fort Mitchell picked up a book at Joseph-Beth Booksellers Saturday afternoon for her three sons, ages 9, 12 and 15. She said she likes the Harry Potter books because they encourage her sons to read, and “it's pretty unusual for all of them to like the same thing.

        “Hopefully there won't be fights over it because they've already decided the oldest will get to read it first,” she said.

        Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is Ms. Rowling's fourth in a wildly popular series about Harry Potter, a wizard-in-training.

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