19 July 2007

The Troubel With Harry

Will Collier steps in it.

It all started about 24 hours ago, when I found a plain cardboard box on my doorstep. I was surprised to see my name on the label, as I wasn’t expecting anything this week. My surprise increased exponentially when I opened the package to find a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows within.


The first thing I thought upon seeing the book was, “Boy, somebody screwed up.” Hallows is famously scheduled for release at midnight on July 21, more than four days after my copy arrived. As you’ve probably guessed by now, my second thought was, “Hey, this thing’s probably worth more than 18 bucks between now and then.” It was a matter of minutes from that thought to taking a blurry digital photo of the book propped up against my computer and composing a brief ad on eBay.


No sooner had I clocked a couple of hours of vacation time to make up for my Potter errand-running than my desk phone rang. A pleasant-sounding woman introduced herself as being with Scholastic Books, and my jaw hit the desk at something approaching supersonic speed. She said, “We understand you have received a copy of the new Harry Potter book from DeepDiscount.com, are you a Harry Potter fan?”To say that I freaked would be a bit of an understatement. My desk phone number isn’t published anywhere — how the hell did they find me?


The Associated Press ran a story about the book’s release, noted my ad, and falsely claimed that I’d declined to respond to a query. That’s a lie: Even as I write this an hour or so after the AP’s story, I have not been contacted by them in any way—and if they actually try they’re going to get hung up on; lie about me and you lose interview rights.

What a perfect cap to this adventure - to have AP screw up its reporting. I think the only sound course of action during Pottermania is to keep one's head down and let both the vultures and the wolves have their day. Once Saturday comes and goes, we can emerge from our shelters, and try to pretend the world belong to all of us again.

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