Before a certain series came out, the notion of going to a bookstore at midnight to pick up a title would have been considered rather, well, much. Then came the literary arrival of boy wizard Harry Potter. As millions of readers fell under J. K. Rowling’s spell, attendance at midnight releases of successive installments of the Potter series became a rite of passage.
No doubt some of you have fond memories of lining up outside P&P, waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Some of our current staff members were present at those releases. P&P’s chief buyer, Mark Laframboise, recalls how the store one year used a dumbwaiter to reveal copies of the new Potter volume in a dramatic cloud of dry ice fog. Rowling herself visited the store in 1999 and somehow managed to sign 1,200 books in two hours.
For many kids, the Potter series served as a gateway to a lifelong love of reading. The last installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published nine years ago. Children who at that time patiently waited in their witch and wizard outfits have since grown up. But passion for Harry and his magical world still abounds.
When Scholastic announced plans months ago to release copies of the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, on July 31, P&P’s staff started preparations for another release party the night of July 30. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the enormity of the response so far. Hundreds of people have preordered the book and said they expect to attend.
This time, we’re making the party an even bigger celebration of all things Harry Potter. On the store’s main floor, a special edition of NERDS trivia will put to the test even the most scholarly Hogwarts students. Meanwhile, starting at 10.30 p.m., visitors will find P&P’s coffeehouse and wine bar, The Den, festooned with the colors of the four Houses, and butterbeer will be for sale. All sorts of fun goings-on—including wand-making, book readings, and more—will take place in the store leading up to midnight. Visit here for more information.
Because quantities are limited, we strongly recommend preordering Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to guarantee your copy on the release date. In the meantime, a new table display in the store features recommended muggle-world reading for each Hogwarts House. (Let us know if you have any suggestions!) And a new window display showcases a colorful selection of the original Potter books.
So whether you’re young or just young at heart, start planning your costumes and get ready to stay up past your bedtime.
— Brad and Lissa