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Incentivized Potter-ing: Amazon Runs Harry Potter Pre-Order Contest

The final installment in the Harry Potter series is near (much to the dismay of its profiting publisher), and the release date for lucky No. 7 is fast approaching. Meanwhile, is marking the occasion by running a contest called “The Harry-est Town in America.” Whichever town pre-orders the most copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will receive a $5,000 Amazon gift certificate, to be directed by the winner to a local charity. The numbers are calculated on a per capita basis using the latest census, and a city must have a population of more than 5,000 to qualify.

So far, Amazon has kept a running list of the Top 100 Potter-loving towns. As of last week, Northern Virginia was leading the pack, with Falls Church, Fairfax, and Vienna nabbing the first, third, and fourth spots. Also in heavy rotation is Washington state, with Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Snohomish, and Woodinville snatching slots in the Top 10. The New York metropolitan region is conspicuously absent (maybe we’re all still slogging through the latest Pynchon?), although the suburbs represent with Great Neck, Scarsdale, and Bronxville.

What city will be the Potter-est of them all? Guess we’ll have to wait until the release deadline of 11:59 PM PDT on July 15, 2007, to find out — although by then, everyone will be busy reading the actual book.

(Hat tip: Kevin)