Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

I've been so busy the past week that I haven't had a chance to blog about the latest Harry Potter book. I was so tired for working long hours the week before that I couldn't wake up to be at the bookstore by 9.01am to grab a copy of the book. I got it as a birthday present from the Behs! Thank you chiccies...

Started reading in the late afternoon and did not stop. Finished after 11 hours! I definitely loved this book. I feel sort of sad that it is all over but can't wait for the movie to come out. Hope that it is more than 2 hours. Can't wait to see the battle scene.

Did a search on Wikipedia to see what was written there and for those who have yet to read the books (although I highly encouraged reading the whole thing), it gives a nice brief and detailed enough analogy on each chapter of each book so that you know what is happenning.
I found a few interesting news, enjoy!

In an interview, author J. K. Rowling gave additional information about the characters that is not explicit in the book.
  • The epilogue does not directly state that Harry and Ginny or Ron and Hermionie are married, but Rowling confirmed that indeed they are.
  • Harry and Ron are both Aurors; Harry is the department head, and Hermione is "very high up" in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
  • Luna Lovegood has become a naturalist of sorts, searching the world for odd and unique creatures.
  • At Hogwarts there is a new permanent Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, since the jinx that Voldemort placed on this job is broken. There is also a new headmaster, as Professor McGonagall was getting too old, but Rowling did not say who either of them are.

Now I didn't know that there was a jinx placed on DADA teachers. I need to read my books again.

Spoiler embargo
  • Rowling made a public request that anyone with advance information about the content of the last book should keep it to themselves, in order to avoid spoiling the experience for other readers. To this end, Bloomsbury invested £10M in an attempt to keep the book's contents secure until the July 21 release date.
  • Arthur Levine, U.S. editor of the Harry Potter series, denied distributing any copies of Deathly Hallows in advance for press review, but two U.S. papers published early reviews anyway.
  • There was speculation that some shops would break the embargo and distribute copies of the book early, as the penalty imposed for previous installments — that the distributor would not be supplied with any further copies of the series — would no longer be a deterrent.

Now if that was the embargo, I wouldn't not be selling early either as it makes sense since there are no more Harry Potter books to follow!

Price wars

In the UK, supermarket chain Asda claimed that the retail price of the book (UK£17.99: equivalent to US$37 at the time of release) was "holding children to ransom". The publisher responded by threatening to withdraw Asda's supply of the book, claiming a previously unpaid debt. Asda issued an apology and settled the debt, and its supply of the book was restored.

Asda, plus several other UK supermarkets, had already taken pre-orders for the book at a heavily discounted price. Asda then sparked a further price war two days before the book's launch by announcing they would sell it for just UK£5.00 a copy (equivalent to US$10.28 at the time of release). Tesco also lowered its price to UK£5.00, but only if customers spent another UK£50.00 in store (Asda did not impose this restriction). Morrisons lowered its price to UK£4.99; the cheapest retail price in the UK, although cash & carry chain Costco offered the book for UK£4.98.

At these prices the book is a loss

leader, with the supermarkets taking a loss of just over UK£3.00 on every copy sold, but attracting large numbers of customers to their stores. This caused uproar from traditional UK booksellers who argued they had no hope of competing in those conditions [25]. Independent shops protested loudest, but even Waterstone’s, the UK's largest dedicated chain bookstore, could not compete with the supermarket price. Some small bookstores hit back by buying their stock from the supermarkets rather than their wholesalers. Asda tried to counter this by imposing a limit of two copies per customer to prevent bulk-buying. Philip Wicks, a spokesman for the UK Booksellers Association, said: 'It is a war we can't even participate in. We think it's a crying shame that the supermarkets have decided to treat it as a loss-leader, like a can of baked beans." Michael Norris, an analyst at Simba Information, said: "You are not only lowering the price of the book. At this point, you are lowering the value of reading."

I agree, they clearly don't understand the value of reading! However, they are just looking at it from a business point of view I guess. I still believe that some things such as iconic events like this should not be messed with!

Malaysia, a similar price war brought about controversy regarding sales of the book. Four of the biggest bookstore chains in Malaysia, MPH Bookstores, Popular Bookstores, Times and Harris, decided to pull Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows off their shelves as a protest against Tesco and Carrefour hypermarkets. The retail price of the book in Malaysia is MYR 109.90 (about GBP 16.05), while the hypermarkets Tesco and Carrefour sell the book at MYR 69.90 (about GBP 10). The move by the bookstores was seen as an attempt to pressure the distributor Penguin Books to remove the books from the hypermarkets. However,as of 24 July 2007, the price war has ended, with the 4 bookstores involved resume selling the books in their stores.

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