Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wild About Harry

As I note in my review of Deathly Hallows, it's been a pretty surreal week or so for those of us who pay any attention at all to the crazy phenomenon that is PotterMania. Last week I was - thankfully - far from the hubbub, hiding from the Internet, most newspapers and just about anything else with the potential to give away what happened. Since then, "have you finished it?" has been the question of the hour, and it's totally fascinating to see people walking down the street (carefully), waiting for buses, or sitting on the train completely enthralled by a book which is instantly recognizable.

It's been neat, and more than a little heartening to see a kind of instant community spring up around a book. As I wrote last night, this will fade, and we'll all soon go back to our other books and our own thoughts and troubles, but I must admit, this little interlude has been quite something.

Over at LT the Hogwarts Express group has been going full-bore with discussions on all aspects of the book; Tim's mounted a really nifty usage chart showing the number of message-posts over the course of the last few weeks, which is utterly fascinating. Also, some Slate writers have been discussing the book for a week or so now; many of the entries are well worth a read (I read through them all this morning since I'm trying now to catch up on all the things I'd been hiding from until I finished the book).

Sales of Deathly Hallows have been brisk to say the least. Barnes & Noble alone reported 1.8 million sales Saturday and Sunday, and Canada's Raincoast Books sold 812,000 copies. On Saturday, Borders stores sold 1.2 million copies, "the highest single-day sales of any title in the company's history" (a total of 8.3 million copies were snatched up in the U.S. on Saturday, according to Scholastic). Amazing, isn't it?

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