Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Unfair Question

A few blocks away from the bookstore as we walked back to the hotel, I was waiting for the light to change to cross the street. A man approached, looked at the bag I was carrying, and asked, "Did you just buy the new Harry Potter book?" "Yes," I answered, unsure what else he thought it might be, considering it was close to 1 am on Saturday morning, and the street was crowded with costumed fans.

"I'll give you 200 dollars for it."

Then he pulls out a wad of (Canadian) bills and starts counting. I didn't respond immediately, but when he looked back up at me I realized that my face was distorted with an expression of disbelief and disgust. I quietly squeaked out "No," and the man shrugged and walked on.

"You should have taken him up on it." "I don't want to wait in line for four hours to get another copy!" "That's a lot of money." "That was an unfair question! And if you really wanted to turn it into a business proposition, we could have ordered a second copy and scalped that."

So that is my favorite story from my Harry Potter acquisition experience. I did end up pre-ordering over the phone from the same chain that Cam recommended in her comment to my last post. But I decided to use the downtown location that is walking-distance from our hotel. Well, I then started us going the wrong direction down St. Catherine, and it wasn't until the street numbers got above where the bookstore should have been that I realized it. (Besides, who would put a major bookstore in the middle of Montreal's redlight district?) One Metro trip later, we got to the bookstore at about 10 pm. Wandering through all the floors to soak up the surreal atmosphere, we got in the official pre-order line closer to 11 pm. There was a lady from a local wildlife organization there with a REAL OWL working the crowd. I got a really cute picture of a small Harry Potter talking to her about the owl - I promise to post that later.

Occasionally, they would announce the time left to release. The last few seconds there was a countdown, with the crowd getting out of sync with the PA system, just like New Years'. It had actually started out in French, but the last five numbers were in English so we could yell along. Then the screaming started - there were quite a few teenagers and tweens that would scream when they got their copy. Really cute, I thought, that they would be that excited about a book. Once they started handing out books the line was moving pretty quickly. (The pre-orders had bracelets, so they just cut off your bracelet and handed you a bag with a book in it.) At about 40 minutes after midnight, I had our book and we headed out of the store and down the street.

I'm not sure how long I was actually reading for, but it was about 2pm on Saturday when I turned the last page and suggested we go out for lunch. I did have to get some sleep about halfway through, but the point wasn't to get it done in one sitting. The point was to use this slice of my vacation in a decadent and highly enjoyable way. I'm still digesting what I've read, and I'm sure I'll be checking up on details in the other books once I get home.

Also, I want to say Happy 26th Birthday to my little brother. I hope it's a good one.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Harry Potter in Montreal

Vacation plans for this year are shaping up. We've got tickets to Montreal (AA frequent flyer miles = Canada for the same rate as domestic) and a reservation at a hotel. Generally the rest of the details about what we'll be doing are best left to "whatever we feel like" but this time I've got to take care of one more item. I will be in Montreal for the release of Harry Potter book 7.

I hadn't read any of the HP books before the 6th one came out. So last time I didn't care. But this time, I want that book as soon as physically possible. If I wasn't travelling, I would pre-order at Borders or Barnes & Noble and go to the midnight release party. Now, I've got to put some more thought into this. The easy way out would be to order from and have it delivered to the hotel. But I'm worried about the logistics of that, and ruining all of Saturday waiting around for the package to show up.

No, I still want the book on Friday night. Which I will then start reading immediately and not stop until I finish. I read quick, so this should be over before lunchtime on Saturday. I need to find somewhere that is open at midnight, is selling books in ENGLISH, and will not charge me full price. So far, the internet has failed me. I may need to start making phone calls.

(It does look like if I buy the book in Canada, I'll get one of the British-style covers. Should I go for the adult cover or the children's cover?)


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