Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter’s Reviews and Release Missteps

Two U.S. newspapers have published reviews of the seventh and final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ahead of the official release of the book. One review is in The New York Times and the other is in The Baltimore Sun.

Without giving away much detail about the book or its ending, both reviews concluded the ending was fitting. Said the Baltimore Sun article, “Suffice it to say, though, that once you have consumed the final sentence on the final page crafted by Rowling, the ending seems inevitable. It is a tribute to the author's consummate storytelling skills that once the pieces fall into place, it all seems rather obvious. No other outcome would have been as plausible.”

Books Get Out Despite Tight Security

According to a story on, “The New York Times review, which appeared overnight, said its copy was purchased from a New York City store on Wednesday, while the Baltimore Sun said it obtained a hard copy of the book ‘through legal and ordinary means.’”

I mentioned in an article a couple of days ago (see below) that publishers are keeping an eye open for early release of the Harry Potter books and that this isn’t unusual for publishers in major book releases. They in fact take bookstores to court for violating agreements to hold books back to agreed upon “lay down dates.” It seems that Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is suing an online bookseller and its distributor for, according to The New York Times, “‘ flagrant violations of their strict contractual obligations’ not to ship copies of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ before 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the time and date set by the publisher.” This is happening in Illinois and involves and its distributor, Levy Home Entertainment. Scholastic accuses of shipping copies of the book to customers up to a week before the on-sale date.

Since The New York Times obtained its copy from a New York City bookstore before the release date, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some legal action taken in that jurisdiction.

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