Friday, July 16, 2004

Harry Potter

(Originally posted on Saturday, July 16, 2005 by Tim)

I?m once again enjoying the wonders of modern technology. I?m typing this up in the car on our way home from a friend?s wedding. Don?t worry, Cat is driving.

We?re currently stuck in a traffic jam caused by the thousands of families in line to buy the new Harry Potter book. I have to admit that I?m confused by current Harry Potter media frenzy. I read a front page story on the BBC web site last week titled, ?Boy buys Harry Potter Book.?

What?!?! This is BBC as in the official news organization of Great Britain and it was on the front page!

Apparently some book store in New York put the new Harry Potter book up for sale three days early. After bringing the book home, the parents of the boy realized that they had purchased the book earlier than the release date and returned it to the store. The father?s quote was something like, ?After reading a few pages we decided that we didn?t want to ruin the book for all the other families out there, so we brought the book back.?

I?m a little confused on the moral dilemma here. The plot of the book was going to be ruined by this family reading the book early? Now if he had said, ?After scanning and posting the book on the internet and getting 150,000 hits we decided that we didn?t want to ruin the book for all the families out there?? I might understand. What?s the real story here? I have two hypotheses.

The Harry Potter Mafia: My first hypothesis is that there is actually a secret Harry Potter enforcement agency out there. I?m not sure which branch of government it is associated with, but it has to fall under the umbrella of Homeland Security. It is a distinct possibility that this family got a call from the Potter Police threatening them with prison and loss of Potter movie privileges.

It is All A Clever Marketing Ploy: My second hypothesis is that the publisher actually manufactured this situation with a Potter loyal family. The conversation with this family probably went something like this.

Greedy Publishing Company: You like Harry Potter books don?t you?

Family: HECK YEAH!

Greedy Publishing Company: and you want there to be more books in the future, right?

Family: HECK YEAH!

Greedy Publishing Company: Do you want to help make the next Harry Potter book?

Family: HECK YEAH!

Greedy Publishing Company: Well for that to happen, Harry has to sell a lot of books this Saturday.

Family: So you want us to buy a lot of books?

Greedy Publishing Company: That too. What we really need from you is for you to pretend to buy a book early and then return it to support our media blitzkrieg.

Family: Isn?t that immoral?

Greedy Publishing Company: We?ll throw in a full set of Harry Potter action figures.

Family: Do you take Discover?

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