Eleven days of queueing for Harry Potter

Forget waiting around a mere few days for an iPhone. Two sisters are in the midst of an 11-day vigil for this summer’s hottest, “must have” low-tech phenomenon: the latest Harry Potter book.

Chloe and Sydney Bostian started camping out on Tuesday in front of Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks, Alaska, to be among the first in their area to find out their hero’s fate in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The seventh and final Harry Potter novel from author JK Rowling will be released at midnight on July 21.

What sort of sorcery could make teenage girls live outside a bookstore in this far northern state for 11 days?

“It’s just so addictive. You think you have it all figured out and then everything switches up on you,” said Chloe (18).
“It’s the big finale, and all the questions are going to be answered.”

They have reserved four copies of the book, but the wait is not about that. They wanted to beat their friend, Graham Tordoff (18), to the front of the line.

“He beat me once and I’ve been in line first ever since,” Chloe said. “We’re pretty die-hard.”

The girls are living out of their parents’ camper, parked in the bookstore’s parking lot. During the day their parents—who are taking turns staying with them—move it to the customer parking area, but at night it comes right up to the store entrance and the front of the line.

To help pass time, they browse the bookstore and friends bring them food so they do not have to leave the line. To refresh their memories, they’re planning to watch the Harry Potter movies on a laptop computer and play trivia games—based on Harry Potter tales, of course.

“It’s just really fun and people come by and talk to you,” said Sydney (11). “The excitement just builds as it gets closer.”

Tordoff, who has known Chloe since they were toddlers, has pre-ordered two copies of the book. He got in line after the girls and plans to be there sporadically—he has a job—until the release. “Chloe and her sister were first, I suppose. It’s depressing,” he said, laughing. “She earned it; she’s good.”

Maria Papp, manager of Gulliver’s Books, said the releases of the previous Harry Potter book only drew crowds about three days before it came out.

“They took us totally by surprise,” she said of the sisters taking up residence outside her store. “These gals will be the first ones in the door and I’m sure they’ll be pretty ready to go home by then.”

She said the store will have more than enough Potter books to go around, so there’s no need to panic.

Publisher Scholastic is printing 12-million copies of the final instalment, a series record, said spokesperson Kyle Good.

Printing has been on the rise with every book, she said, up from 50 000 copies printed on the first run of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. There are 121,5-million copies of all the books in circulation throughout the US, she said.

Amazon.com said more than two million people worldwide have pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final volume in JK Rowling’s series. In the US, the web retailer said the book has logged more than 1,2-million pre-orders, breaking the company’s record of 919 000 set by the previous instalment.—Sapa-AP

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