Business

Flying off the shelves like magic

"Harry Potter gladdens the hearts of more than children and their parents. For booksellers, the young wizard is the biggest thing that's happened since Herr Gutenberg came up with the idea of movable type.There's never been anything like this, said Mary Gleysteen, events coordinator at Eagle Harbor Books in Winslow. The fourth volume of the Harry Potter series was the largest first run in the history of printing - five million copies. And I understand they're on the second printing already.Introduced in 1997, the fantasy series - chronicling the exploits of a young magician going through the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - has created an international phenomenon, attracting both young readers and adults and numerous critical plaudits.By mid-afternoon Monday, Eagle Harbor had sold 637 copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the 734-page opus from Scottish author J.K. Rowling. Another hundred-plus books were on hold, ordered but as-yet unclaimed.Compared to typical books, that is not just big. It's off the scales.Gleysteen said that for a typical best-seller - a Stephen King or John Grisham, for example - Eagle Harbor would sell 10 to 15, maybe 20 copies a day. The only first-week sales even in the same universe with Goblet was hometown author David Guterson's second novel East of the Mountains, of which Eagle Harbor special-ordered over 200 copies.We ordered 700 copies of 'Goblet' at first, then re-ordered three more times already, Gleysteen said.Eagle Harbor joined bookstores around the nation in a Potter party Friday at midnight - the moment at which sales could begin.Before the store opened its doors at 11:30 p.m. Friday night, the line stretched east from the book store past American Marine Bank. When the crowd filed in, Gleysteen counted more than 500 people.There were kids in pajamas with teddy bears. There were kids dressed up as Harry Potter and other characters from the book. We ran out of cookies and punch, but everybody had a good time, Gleysteen said.While they were waiting, the enthusiasts amused themselves with a Harry Potter quiz written by Aaron McCloud, whose expertise on matters Potter has landed him on National Public Radio.The kids counted down the seconds until midnight. And then the cash registers started jingling.It was absolutely crazy, Gleysteen said. We couldn't unpack the books fast enough. So we had customers come back behind the counter and unpack them for us.The store closed at 1 a.m. after an hour of sales to the night owls. But the rush wasn't over.We had a big line at 8 a.m. the next morning when we opened, Gleysteen said."

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