The biennial publishing feeding frenzy that accompanies a new Harry Potter book release is almost upon us once again. Billionaire J.K. (Jo) Rowling’s sixth installment in the Potter phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, goes on sale worldwide on July 16, but there has already been trouble up north, with the horses busting down the stall door a bit ahead of schedule.
Canadian Potter publishers Raincoast Books was granted an injunction preventing anyone disclosing all or part of the plot to Potter number six ahead of its official publication date after a Vancouver book store “mistakenly” put the book on sale July 7 and a “small number” of the books were sold.
Customers who turn in their copy of the book will have it returned to them at 00:01 on July 16, along with an autographed bookplate and limited edition T-shirt. Book retailers worldwide have had to sign an agreement not to sell the book before that time.
“Raincoast have promised fans of Harry Potter that we would do our best to ensure that they would be the first to discover the secrets contained within Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” said Raincoast marketing director Jamie Broadhurst. “We felt that we had to take all necessary legal action to keep our promise to Canadian fans.”
“It is not the intention of Raincoast to penalize the small group of fans who have innocently purchased a book in good faith,” he said. “We look to them to ensure that the excitement and mystery of the story is preserved for fans around the world until July 16 by co-operating with us and observing the terms of the court injunction.”
Even book cover illustrator Jason Cockcroft has not been allowed to read the novel. He told the BBC, “Apart from JK Rowling, there’s only about two people I think who have read the book so far. All I know is I was asked to draw Harry and Dumbledore looking very apprehensive as something comes towards them … I’m glad I don’t know more because I don’t think I could handle the responsibility.”
Though I love the movies, I have thus far resisted the global tide of Potter-in-print. But my wife has just devoured numbers four and five, so with vacation approaching I feel my resolve wavering.