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Book News for Monday, July 23, 2007

  • All Harry, All the Time: Hey, did you hear? A new book came out this weekend and lots of people bought it. And it became front-page news around the world.

    Reread the above paragraph, as it's likely to be the last time you ever read those words outside of an Onion satire from here on out.

    Potters as far as the eye can see
    You might have predicted that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would have the all-time bestselling first day for a book release... and first weekend... and, really, whatever other firsts you can come up with. And you would have been right.

    In what the Associated Press calls "the richest going-away party in history," Deathly Hallows sold 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours in the United States alone. Put another way, the book "averaged more than 300,000 copies in sales an hour — more than 5,000 a minute."

    And here's good news for cinema-hatin' bibliophiles:

    The $34.99 book, even allowing for discounts, generated far more revenue than the opening weekend of the latest Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which came out July 10.

    According to a sidebar in the Oregonian, the Powell's stores had sold 5,000 copies by Sunday alone. I'm not sure where or how they got that statistic, since I can't even find things like that out — but it sounds good to me.

    Meanwhile, if you missed the opening-night brouhaha, we live-blogged it here and the Oregonian did likewise. Our blog got more photos, but the big O seemed to have their machinery running more smoothly.

    They evidently spent less time trying to figure out why the photos they had to email to themselves never showed up in Hotmail but always showed up in Gmail. Lucky them.

    If you want to see more pictures of the event, check out the party photos taken by Chris Valaas (he's the one wearing the Dungeons & Dragons T-shirt in the live-blog photos).

  • Wild About Harry: Last week advance reviews for Deathly Hallows were few and far-between (and controversial) — but now that the book is out, critics have caught up to it. The results seem overwhelmingly favorable.

    (Maybe these jubilant critics are enjoying the book with the aid of a little white happy pill...)

    A sampling:

    "It's hard to imagine a better ending than the one she's written for her saga....Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may be a miracle of marketing, but it's also a miraculous book that earns out, emotionally and artistically."
    — Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post

    "[A] triumph. Its weaknesses become a source of strength, like the scar on Harry's forehead, and the seventh and last novel in J.K. Rowling's series turns out to be the best one."
    — Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

    "I'm amazed, when I sit back, at the sheer, immensely complicated arc of the story; Rowling has always said she had the entire seven-book series plotted out from the very beginning, and it's clear she did....Rowling winds up her tale with a stunningly beautiful simplicity. As an added flourish, she gilds it with a moving epilogue, one that brought tears to my eyes."
    — Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly

    In fact, if there were any negative reviews, I haven't been able to find them. Maybe Harold Bloom will write one...

  • Let's All Go to Candy Mountain: And now, because I've heard, read, and written just about enough about Harry Potter for this week (at least), here's something utterly different:

    I can't wait for Charlie the Unicorn: The Movie.

    "Charlie! Charlie! Chaaaaaaaaaarlieeeeeee!!!"

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...
    Used Hardcover $8.50
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the...
    Used Trade Paper $6.50

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