“Eager fans of all ages gathered at midnight parties in bookstores and libraries to get their copies of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,’ bringing communities together to celebrate the magic of reading and the power of great storytelling.”
Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade
J.K. Rowling’s newest release became an overnight blockbuster, selling more than 2 million copies in the first 48 hours. More than 5,000 bookstores and libraries across the country organized events to herald the release of this play script based on the new Harry Potter play premiering in London, which follows Harry into fatherhood.
Potter fans are fiercely loyal and joyously enthusiastic. In a time when books seem to come and go, often making a little ripple in the publishing pool, it’s heartening to see a beloved storyteller make a huge splash. Here are a few the many ways readers weighed in:
The Strand Book Store in Manhattan hosted more than a thousand fans. The Bookshop Santa Cruz drew 2,000. And amazingly, the Harry Potter festival- release party hosted by McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, Manitoba attracted 20,000 people — that’s right — 20,000!
Many of those displaying Potter mania weren’t kids, but 20-somethings reliving the Potter parties they enjoyed as teens. Bookstores and libraries fed the frenzy with all manner of imaginative festivities: scavenger huts, trivia contests, costume awards, photo booths, face painting, music, themed food and drink like butter beer, potion riddles, and games, including quiddich.
Even bookstore staffs joined in the fun. At Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, “the staff went all out on their costumes. We had many Harry Potters, Dumbledores, Snapes, Hagrids, and Hermiones,” said Marketing coordinator Britt Appleton.
Sounds like loads of fun, doesn’t it? Here’s what one Hawaiian girl, Anna Miller, wrote on the Muggle Wall at Kona Stories Bookstore: “Harry Potter changed my life forever. When I had no friends in 3rd grade, the characters seemed to come out of the book and could cheer me up. They became my best friends.” What more fulfilling words could an author hear? Bravo, J.K. Rowling — write on!