Here Comes Harry!
Tomorrow morning — at 12:01 AM, to be precise — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will go on sale. While coverage of the event has been crammed with reports of lawsuits over early shipments, outrage over Internet spoilers, and protests over potential Sabbath desecration, there’s also been plenty of Freakonomic-ish news in the Potter realm. Here’s a summary:
A prediction market lists the hero’s survival at 90% as of 12:37 AM, EDT.
Amazon has announced that Falls Church, VA is the winner of its “Harry-est Town in America” contest (which we’ve followed with interest). The Potter-loving town has designated its $5,000 Amazon gift prize to go to the Mary Riley Styles Public Library Foundation Trust (perhaps to the dismay of publishers?).
Salon chimes in with a report on the genesis of “wizard rock,” made up of youth bands that promote their music through social networking sites.
On the economics side, the Financial Times notes that, while this weekend’s revenues from Deathly Hallows will surpass Hollywood’s box office earnings for the same period, booksellers are predicting little to no actual profits due to deep discounts on the hardbacks. Though with fans camping out at stores and big chains like Barnes & Noble expected to move more than 2 million copies in the next few weeks, as B&N CEO Steve Riggio says, “that’s a good investment in the future.”
Lastly, while the book’s U.S. publisher, Scholastic Corp. is shipping a record 12 million copies tonight, things may not stay so rosy in the company’s future; Bloomberg.com reports that it faces “an exodus of investors as the series ends,” with the stock already falling 30 cents as of this morning. Meanwhile, The Street‘s James Altucher advises against buying Scholastic in his list of Potter franchise stock picks.