Release Parties for Book 7 - Ideas & Input Appreciated

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Release Parties for Book 7 - Ideas & Input Appreciated

Post  Elanor on Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:01 am

Release Parties for Book 7 - Ideas & Input Appreciated

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

mischiefmanager - Feb 10, 2007 10:59 am
Edited by Kip Carter Feb 10, 2007 12:28 pm
Hello! I'm new to this forum as a member (although certainly not as a reader or fan!), and I'm hoping to benefit by your expertise and sage advice. I work at a B&N and am part of the group planning our release party. Although I've participated in parties as a fan/customer, I've never been on the planning end. (I'm so psyched!) I'm wondering about your experiences as planners, staffers or participants.

1. What worked for you and what didn't?
2. What would you do again?
3. What would you do differently and what would you eliminate?
4. What would you like to do/see if you had unlimited space and budget?
5. Is there anything special you're doing relating to book 7 in particular?

Thanks in advance!

Laura

I only added some format tags to Laura's questions. B&N is Barnes and Noble Bookstore(s) for those who wonder. - Kip
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Elanor
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Release Parties for Book 7 (Post 1 to 45)

Post  Elanor on Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:02 am

Thom Matheson - Feb 10, 2007 12:37 pm (#1 of 45)
If you can get local TV and or Radio coverage that would help. We also had portable spotlights in the sky(with the Dark Mark) shinning on a wall. Lots of games for the kiddies, but also something for the adults. As someone said having only staff there that REALLY want to be there, in costume, is a big plus. It's a long night and good attitudes help. Having a solid system in place(we had color coded banding) for the position in the line. You could pick up your band any time within 24 hours before. Those that were banded started getting in line about 7:30 or 8:00. The crews did interviews and there was a great report on the local news at both 6 and 11.

The last 2 I was in line as the first 5 each time so was out of the store quickly. Have people patrolling outside for crowd control and roughneck teens as well as spoiler alerts.

That's about it. Good luck, and have fun

Thom

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Madam Pince - Feb 10, 2007 3:52 pm (#2 of 45)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I've never been to one myself, but I was looking forward to attending one for this last chance until someone mentioned the possibility of someone screaming out the last page spoilers before I'd even had a chance to pick up my book -- I would be sooooooo bummed if that happened to me!

So for me, a huge draw to attending a party would be some sort of guarantee in place to prevent spoilers. I have no idea how you could do this...

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mischiefmanager - Feb 10, 2007 4:14 pm (#3 of 45)

Kip, thanks for the necessary clarifications and formatting!

Madam Pince-wow, I didn't even think of that. What sort of creep would do such a thing? I will say that once the line starts moving it goes pretty quickly and people seem to want to be out the door and gone-but then, we were always first or second in line, thanks to my intrepid and determined daughter.

Our store is an old-fashioned 2 story one which is on the small and crowded side, so the lines usually snake all through the ground floor and resume upstairs and then outside. So it's certainly possible for someone to spoil the ending for the people outside. It sounds like we'll need to consider some crowd control. Perhaps some aurors with wands at the ready? I still have my auror badge from Lumos...

Laura

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Thom Matheson - Feb 10, 2007 4:57 pm (#4 of 45)

Madame Pince, I have been to 3, DH being my 4th, and I have never had anyone shout out anything. Believe me, after 3 or 4 hours, you want to get home.

In OoP they handed out the books as you walked by to the registers, so there was a bit of lag time there, by for HBP all the books were behind the counters and you went to the register and then out the door. Don't miss out on the event for fear of an idiot. It's great fun.

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Mediwitch - Feb 10, 2007 8:43 pm (#5 of 45)

"We could have all been killed-- or worse, expelled!"
The B&N I went to for HBP didn't really have much for the adults to do, so it was a little boring waiting around so long. (Spending a few hours hanging around a bookstore is not generally my idea of boring, but I was on a mission! I really wanted my HBP, so I couldn't focus on the other books.) They had a few activities for kids, but they really didn't know what to do for adults. It was really well organized, otherwise, as Thom and others described. The only "problem" was that it was a fairly large store, and it was hard to hear when they started giving directions about lining up in groups (depending on your bracelet) - a PA system would have been helpful.

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Ginerva Potter - Feb 11, 2007 6:54 am (#6 of 45)

Well, since we know in this book Harry will be on a quest for Horcruxes, you could have some sort of treasure hunt inside the store. Anyone that finds a horcrux would win a prize. That might keep some of the adults busy, too. You could have a Harry trivia game and hand out prizes for participating. I like crossword puzzles and word searches, so maybe you could do something like that. Best costume contest by age group. That's all I can think of right now.

Ginny

EDIT: I just went back and read your original post - you didn't really ask for ideas for things to do. I've never been to a release party, so I don't know how you would do these activities. It was just some things that I thought would be fun if I went to a party.

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TheSaint - Feb 11, 2007 9:53 am (#7 of 45)

I went to B & N for the last release. Ordered my book way ahead. When I got to the store, their transformer had been hit by lightning and they had no power. Everything they had planned went to pot. They did figure out how to power up two cash registers and a light so we could get our books at midnight. Plan for the unthinkable! LOL

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journeymom - Feb 11, 2007 12:09 pm (#8 of 45)

We live in northern California. We went to B & N for the release of HBP. Well, July 15th was it? in California is sweltering. Even at mid-night that big store was as hot and stuffy as a gym locker room. They had the AC going full blast, and it helped, but they really should have had free-standing fans going as well. The poor baristas at the attached Starbucks were swamped. Dollar-bottles of water would have been smart.

The activities they had for kids were great for kids up to about 10: face painting, wand decorating (feathers, tassles, glitter). But activities for older kids would be appreciated.

Otherwise, the whole thing was impressively well-organized. Daughter and I had a great time, other than being worn out when we got out of there.

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Finn BV - Feb 11, 2007 1:42 pm (#9 of 45)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Well, I'm a bit ashamed now to admit I went to a Borders for HBP. (We like B&N too… just that Borders is verrry close compared to B&N.) It worked well because I had exact change, and I kept the lines moving. People want to get their books fast, so tell them how much the book will cost with tax so that they can get out exact change if they want. I was just handed a book at the counter and a piece of paper with the barcode was scanned, not the book itself. You may also want to have sets of the right amount of change to return should somebody give you a common amount of money (i.e. the book is selling for about $30, I think, so if the tax makes that 31.43 or whatever, have a lot of sets of $8.57 to give back if you get two $20s!).

It was also very helpful in waiting because they called out the range of 25 or 50 people that they were serving. So people that were between 1 and 50 got up first, and then they asked people through 75 to get in line, and so forth. But you may want to ask people earlier (say, about 11:45) to start getting in general positions: put people in the first 100 at the front of the store, then in the 200s in the next section, etc., so that you don't have the 500th person right at the front of the line and the 1st person way at the back of the store.

That's logistics. As for fun stuff, they had some trivia, but (and it's probably thanks to the Lexicon) it was sooooo easy. Please, get some tricky stuff in there! Not stuff like, "What number was the Blacks' house at Grimmauld Place?" Sure, you have to throw in some of that stuff for the casual readers, but for the true HP buffs who want to show off their stuff, search the inner depths of the Lexicon (and also the Trivia thread on this forum) for some crazy stuff (e.g. "What does the spell Orchideous do?" and you could mention, if you felt like it, that Mr. Ollivander does it in Goblet of Fire.).

Wandmaking was fun.

Oh! Sell HP merchandise for the poor folk who don't have anything cool to wear, be selling that at a separate register, and have obvious signs to the bathroom! I didn't own anything last time, and I felt so un-HPish! You definitely should have some costumes.

Laura, great thinking to come to the forum!

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azi - Feb 11, 2007 1:58 pm (#10 of 45)

Photo borrowed from Ardent Photography
Well, I didn't go to a midnight release (too far, no transport, not a done thing in my town except at a tiny bookshop where I think the cover artist was...), but when I went the next morning there were people dressed up (also HP fans by their enthusiasm). However, nothing was going on other than that. Not that I minded too much, I went in the shop at 9.20am and was out by 9.25! I would have liked a lollipop to eat while I was reading or something...

As for organisation, it was very well done for pre-orders. The bookstore had everyone's surname in a file; the only problem for me was that my surname is Smith and there was at least a page of people with that name.

Hmm, what would I like? Trivia sounds like fun, and a way to stop people yelling the plot is essential! I feel I cannot be accounted for my actions if someone tells me what happens before I've read the book. By the sounds of it, there's generally plenty to do for kids, but not much for adults. We adults (am I an adult yet?) like to have fun too.

Finn - that sounds very expensive for the book. Although the list price is £17.99 (around $35) here, most stores are retailing it at £8.99 (around $17)!

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mischiefmanager - Feb 11, 2007 4:29 pm (#11 of 45)

This is all great stuff-keep those ideas and stories about your experiences coming!

I'm hoping that I'm put in charge of adult activities, as the person who's responsible for the overall event is the kids' lead in our store. I want to do convention-style discussion groups, maybe some fanfic readings, definitely serious trivia contests, and probably a wall of memories similar to what Prophecy is planning to do. Those are the first round of ideas, but as we clarify budget and layout, I hope to come up with more.

No power would be quite a mess. We're kicking around the idea of trying to get the street in front of the store closed, but as rain in the summer in Pittsburgh is not exactly unheard of, we'll have to come up with contingency plans as well.

Finn, how was the wandmaking done?

Journeymom, I'll pass your suggestion about extra water along to the cafe-I'm sure we'll need it!

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juliebug - Feb 11, 2007 5:35 pm (#12 of 45)

You could have a costume contest with categories like best Harry, or split the competition up into divisions by age.

You could have a Bertie Botts Beans blind taste test challenge.

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Denise P. - Feb 11, 2007 6:02 pm (#13 of 45)

Ravenclaw Pony
I know the release parties I have gone to, all the activities were geared towards kids. It would be nice to have some activities geared towards adults. It is kinda ironic since there were significantly more adults than kids anyway.

Trivia is always good, costume costume, crafts (like wand making), Sorting Ceremony, make badges, scavenger hunt (it could work in a bookstore! Look for specific books....)

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Finn BV - Feb 11, 2007 9:36 pm (#14 of 45)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Laura, there were both those storebought skinny wood rods (about a foot long) which we decorated with construction paper/stickers/pipe cleaners. They had glitter and glue and felt too but I don't know what they were thinking since you need quite a bigger rod to do such a thing… They also had slightly thicker twigs from outside, which gave a more authentic feel to the wands (at least from the movie visuals, they're not all perfectly straight).

Now I know it's a book release and all, but you may want to consider showing favorite clips from the first four films (although I don't know if you'd have legal issues with that, since it's a mass audience).

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Marie E. - Feb 11, 2007 9:46 pm (#15 of 45)

I think a good thing to do while planning is have activities planned at different intervals, such as trivia at 9pm, wand-making at 10pm, etc. Also different activities at the same time so everyone can be doing something rather than standing around waiting for midnight. I also agree with having something for the adults to do as well as the kids.

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haymoni - Feb 12, 2007 11:24 am (#16 of 45)

The bookstores in both Hudson & Peninsula, Ohio get the whole shopping area involved.

It would be cool if you have an ice cream store or a sporting goods store nearby that wouldn't mind being "renamed" for one night.

That gives folks a chance to go to other stores while they wait. Maybe the wands could be made at one of the other locations.

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mischiefmanager - Feb 13, 2007 9:04 am (#17 of 45)

The kid-to-adult ratio problem has been my experience too. I think that it's because (1) kids need to be kept busy and adults are expected to be able to behave while they wait, and (2) HP is still thought of as a kids' series even though sales clearly show that it appeals to readers across a much broader age range. So stores really haven't thought of trying to attract adults to their release parties. (And not every store has a hard-core adult fan like me. :-) ) But if the stores want to sell stuff in addition to the HP book, it's probably adults who are most likely to do the buying, so it's in our interest to attract them.

Yes, deciding on a schedule of events and trying to get the neighboring stores involved are ideas we're kicking around. We have an ice cream store a couple of doors up and a movie theater next door, so there are definitely possibilities. Finn, it sounds like if we want to do wandmaking we should go to a home supplies store like Home Depot or something and get thicker rods than the little skinny ones you get in craft stores. We'll have to see what our budget is for this.

I'd like to get our program of events set up as soon as possible and start advertising it and getting people to sign up, so we'll see what the managers have to say at our meeting next month.

I'm so glad I posted here-you're all a huge help! And I'm going to be continuing to look for ideas, so keep posting!

I had a dream last night that I was at an HP con-think I'm psyched?

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haymoni - Feb 13, 2007 9:16 am (#18 of 45)

You could make wands out of pretzel rods - dip them in chocolate and roll them in sprinkles. A bit messy, but so is glue!

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Soul Search - Feb 13, 2007 9:46 am (#19 of 45)

Some good ideas, and I am all for keeping the kids occupied.

But don't forget the adult who just wants to get his book quickly and get home to start reading it. I would go to a bookstore that promoted "100 cashiers, NO WAITING."

Since you probably can't add 100 cash registers, I would put two or three people on each register to maximize throughput. Someone greets and takes order (number of books,) another rings it up, and someone else gives change, bags, receipt, etc., all overlapping to get the minimum transaction time.

Later thought. How about when I get there, well before midnight, I buy one of those gift cards for the exact amount of the book. They are color coded to determine pecking order. When my color is called, I go to special lines where I hand in my card and get a book, quickly.

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haymoni - Feb 13, 2007 9:47 am (#20 of 45)

How about a "Hogwart's Express" line for those who don't want to play?

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mischiefmanager - Feb 13, 2007 9:54 am (#21 of 45)

Well, the activities are just a way of keeping people busy while they're waiting for the line to form. Our store gives out numbers for the line starting at a designated time, generally early in the evening (as I assume most stores do). So you could theoretically come in early, pick up your number, go home and come back at 11:55 to get in line. But if you have a higher number, there's going to be waiting no matter what. The party is over at midnight, because everyone will want to get their book and go home, so the idea of an express line doesn't really make sense. Every bookstore will certainly have all of its registers working, but I don't know of any store that has more than 6 or 7 registers. Maybe someplace like Target or God forbid, Wal-mart, would have more, but I don't know if they do parties. And if so, why would you go to them anyhow when you could come to a bookstore?

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Finn BV - Feb 13, 2007 4:41 pm (#22 of 45)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Ooh, haymoni, you've got me all hungry! **walks into kitchen and eats pretzel** Good idea!

And Soul Search, the prepay idea would be great. I remember around the release of HBP, bookstores had a number of HP-designed gift cards, so each design could constitute a different increment of each book.

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mischiefmanager - Feb 14, 2007 8:15 am (#23 of 45)

So we could have an exact change line, I guess. That might move things along.

Now here's another question: if you were going to attend a discussion group at a release party, what topics would you like to discuss?

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Soul Search - Feb 14, 2007 8:30 am (#24 of 45)

I did get into a discussion while waiting in line for HBP. Mostly, it was about how silly it was for mature adults to be waiting in line at a bookstore, at midnight, to buy a children's book. We all seemed to be embarrassed to be seen there, even by others doing the same thing.

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mischiefmanager - Feb 14, 2007 8:56 am (#25 of 45)

But you-and others like you-were there anyhow. :-)

So maybe creating activities that would appeal to grownups would address that a bit. I don't know, though, why people persist in forcing HP into the children's lit genre when it clearly has transcended that and, in fact, has made readers and publishers question what the term even means.

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haymoni - Feb 14, 2007 10:37 am (#26 of 45)

Maybe some of our trivia questions typed up on a sheet would keep folks entertained.

I've really enjoyed some of our recent ones - quotes and clothing descriptions.

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TwinklingBlueEyes - Feb 14, 2007 11:44 am (#27 of 45)

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking"
The HBP release I went to had a Sorting Hat sitting on a table as you first walked in the door. People were "sorted" into houses and the "houses" were called at different times to do triva, wand and hat making, face painting, games, costume, etc. Then winners from the four houses competed for championship in the respective event. Just an idea.

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Madam Pince - Feb 14, 2007 2:43 pm (#28 of 45)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I would think a great discussion topic would be "Good Snape? Bad Snape? Discuss!" but then again, you're Barnes & Noble, right? I think that your competitor Borders is using the Good Snape / Bad Snape theme already, so maybe that would be frowned upon...

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mischiefmanager - Feb 15, 2007 7:18 am (#29 of 45)

TWB-what fun! I really like that idea. It's a good way to manage large numbers of people.

Madam Pince-I think the Snape question belongs to the world. I'm just waiting for the prospective Presidential candidates to weigh in. :-)

Our store managers rearranged the entire first floor yesterday in anticipation of our event and the room we'll need for discussion groups. Yay!

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Madam Pince - Feb 15, 2007 12:11 pm (#30 of 45)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Another thought -- perhaps Forumers who've attended those "major" HP functions like LUMOS or ACCIO or similar in the past would have suggestions for discussion themes? Those conventions seemed to have very stimulating discussion topics that were specific enough to narrow the discussion, and yet things that any HP fan would be conversant enough in to enjoy. You might try e-mailing Forum members Gina R. Snape (her e-mail might be in her profile -- she used to post a lot but not as much lately I don't think, or maybe I've just missed her), and also Detail Seeker (he's a Forum staff member.) I'm pretty sure both of them have attended and possibly even been presenters at some of the larger conventions.

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mischiefmanager - Feb 16, 2007 6:43 pm (#31 of 45)

Edited by Denise P. Feb 26, 2007 12:10 pm
Actually, I've attended 4 of them myself, but I wanted to get a sense of what this group might find interesting. I personally would love to talk Marauders all night.

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kaykay1970 - Feb 18, 2007 12:48 pm (#32 of 45)

One small thing I didn't like about the sorting hat at the HBP party I attended: Most of my fellow Ravenclaws were 4-8 years old. That will hinder adult participation quite a bit! LOL Maybe you could have a separate sorting hat for adults?

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Finn BV - Feb 19, 2007 2:08 pm (#33 of 45)

Me kayaking, Niagara River, August 2006. I have been likened to Reepicheep in this photo.
Adults and older teens could certainly discuss some of the more "grown-up" themes in the books: religion/witchcraft (we don't discuss that here on the Forum, to avoid conflicts, but a discussion on it would prosper in a real-life setting, I would think), good vs. evil, death, discrimination/real-life genocides, destiny and choice/Trelawney… You know, smaller kids are often more interested in discussing what character they want to be when they grow up, but adults usually read the books not only for the satisfying story but for these themes.

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Ida-ho-Potato - Feb 23, 2007 7:40 am (#34 of 45)

The Holloween Hag/Witch
Hello, it has been awile since I last posted. I just want to know one thing. I can not find where anyone has asked this question. JKRowling says

Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows will be published on Saturday 21st July 2007 at 00:01 BST in the UK and at 00:01 in the USA. It will also be released at 00:01 BST on Saturday 21st July in other English speaking countries around the world.

So is Jo saying that the Deathly Hallows will be released at 00:01 BST here in the USA also? If that is the case then we would get the book at around 7pm July 20th (in Indiana). That is the way it sounds to me anyway. What do you think?

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Ginerva Potter - Feb 23, 2007 2:23 pm (#35 of 45)

Ida-ho-Potato - For the release of the books, the US releases it at midnight. The midnight British standard time is for everyone else outside of the US because they are published by a different publisher. So, unfortunately for us in the US, most everyone in the world gets book 7 before we do! However, it could be worse, some countries have to wait until after midnight because they are in time zones that are before BST time. So, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but we don't get the book until Saturday at midnight!

Ginny

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Ida-ho-Potato - Feb 26, 2007 12:34 pm (#36 of 45)

The Holloween Hag/Witch
Thank you Ginny. I was just hoping you know. I like tring to read between the lines. It would be cool if everyone got the book at the same time zone.

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Madam Pince - Feb 26, 2007 10:26 pm (#37 of 45)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
That got me thinking... you know what would be interesting? If there was some way to track things like worldwide TV viewership, phone usage, computer usage, etc., for the first six hours or so after DH is released. It would be so cool to know if the whole world is slowing down and going silent for awhile because everybody's reading at the same time!

Not that you could do this for a release party, but still... it's an interesting idea!

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chinesefireball121 - Feb 27, 2007 12:03 am (#38 of 45)

Its not so bad getting the book after midnight (I'm in Australia, so I will get the book at 9am). In a way you miss out on all the excitement, but at least you have had a good night sleep, and can really read all day.

Although this book, I'm going to Sydney for a big big launch party, and currently trying to convince friends that it is a good idea to camp out in fron of the bookshop all night Very Happy

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Denise P. - Feb 27, 2007 9:41 am (#39 of 45)

Ravenclaw Pony
Speaking of release parties and promotional items.....I know Scholastic did things for Goblet of Fire on. Things like posters, cardboard stand ups, buttons for employees to wear etc. Was anything done for the first 3 books? Any posters to announce the date or anything like that?

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MoaningMyrtle101 - Mar 3, 2007 8:37 am (#40 of 45)

I don't know, I didn't get into it until GoF, but I would imagine the books were already a big enough cultural phenomenon to warrant Scholastic doing all of that by at least PoA.

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I Am Used Vlad - Mar 6, 2007 1:54 pm (#41 of 45)

I Am Almighty!
3. What would you do differently and what would you eliminate?

Well, I'm definately not going to shout "Harry dies" when I leave the book store this time.

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freshwater - Mar 26, 2007 3:16 pm (#42 of 45)

Connections, speculation, discussion: the best part of HP reading! Check out the on-going HP Lex Forum series re-read! Currently reading GoF...
For the release of HBP my son and I drove 2 hours --and stayed overnight-- in a town having their 2nd release party. It was initiated by the bookstore in the small downtown, but many of the adjacent businesses participated, too, decorating and renaming their businesses for the event (I think Haymoni suggested this in post 16).

The local bakery became Honeydukes, the local bank became Gringott's, the Hallmark store became Scrivenshaft's, etc. The local cafe's and restaurants offered butterbeer and re-named food items, or at the very least an HP rub-on tattoo. A sporting goods store could offer quidditch practice. If your B&N is in a mall or on a street corner, you may be able to expand your event to include nearby stores and businesses. That would automatically allow for movement of your crowds outside of your store, for some part of the evening, and will provide diversions for the crowds that you don't have to plan or present...although you may want to be prepared to suggest names to thos muggle businessmen who are unfamiliar with the books, like Molly's Beef Stew, or Ginny's Hot Chocolate, or candy names from Honeydukes.

There was a nice park at the end of the block, and the local theater group put on scenes from the books....maybe your local high school/college/amateur theater group would do short scenes or dramatic readings just for the publicity and experience.

At the last release, once the line started to form --about 10:30-- the bakery came around handing out samples of brownies or candy (we were lined up on the sidewalk/alley outside the small bookstore) and vendors came by selling water and juice. As I recall, they had some church groups and Girl Scout groups with bakesale tables outside.

Also, the bookstore employee's came out about 11:00 with an HP trivia question sheet. They also set up two different lines: one for folks who had pre-ordered and pre-paid, and one for folks who had not and needed to pay. Even though we were about 60th in the pre-paid line, we got our book about 12:10 a.m.

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cindysuewho45 - Apr 21, 2007 2:50 am (#43 of 45)

Hi all, For the release of DH, I will be going to a book store and spending most of the night in line, with frinds and faimly. We are taking the HP game to play with others in line, to pass the time. It should be a lot of fun.

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haymoni - Apr 21, 2007 4:28 am (#44 of 45)

It looks like I may be in Hilton Head for the release! I can't believe it!

Any ideas where I can get my book????

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Denise P. - Apr 22, 2007 6:04 pm (#45 of 45)

Ravenclaw Pony
A book store? Sorry, I could not resist! Have you tried looking in the yellow pages to see if there are any bookstores locally? I would call to be sure you can get a copy.
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