Marketing hype in high gear for … a book!
June 20, 2003
Could there be anything more encouraging to the literary types among us than the hype and intrigue over the release of a new book?
No, we’re not talking about Hillary Clinton’s autobiography.
We’re referring, of course, to “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” due to hit bookstores — most bookstores, anyway — on Saturday.
Scholastic Inc., publisher of the book, has scheduled a first printing of 8.5 million copies. Incredible.
In an age when the latest movie, the newest CD, the hottest TV show and the coolest video game are routinely subjected to over-the-top marketing campaigns and hyperbole to match, it’s simply refreshing to see the same type of excitement over a book. Even if the book will eventually be a movie and video game, not to mention the flavor of the week at fast-food joints.
Distributors of the book have hired extra security and guard dogs (Guard dogs!) to keep “Order of the Phoenix” from being exposed before the big launch.
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Stores are planning midnight parties. There will be a countdown on Times Square. Festivals are planned around the world.
So it was news when a tractor-trailer with 7,800 copies of the book was taken from outside a warehouse in England. It was news when some people were able to buy a copy at a Wal-Mart in Toronto last week.
And it was big news when Scholastic and author J.K. Rowling sued the New York Daily News for $100 million for previewing the book, allegedly spoiling the surprise. The newspaper said it bought a copy at a Brooklyn health-food store, which mistakenly put the book out for sale.
As they say, you can’t buy that kind of publicity.
Well, maybe you can. But this time around it’s for a book, which millions of kids will read, which gives us a glimmer of hope that the simple pleasures in life will endure always.