I did my bit for the Harry Potter industry this morning, taking Giles (8½) along to our local Ottakars to pick up his prebooked copy of HP&tHBP. The shop had a slightly hungover feel, having had 300 people in last night for the big launch.
I am not one of those who find it appealing to whinge about the success of the Harry Potter books, but I do wonder why Bloomsbury decided to spend so much money on the launch of a book that was guaranteed to be the year's biggest seller without a penny spent on promotion. I am sure that Bloomsbury's sales and marketing department have a sensible justification, but I have come up with a conspiracy theory that might not be true, but is a little more more fun.
HP&tHBP is the penultimate Potter. After number 7 turns up in a year or two's time that will be the lot. Financial journalists are already wondering how Bloomsbury and their American partner Scholastic will fill the gap. But what if there is no gap? What if Bloomsbury deliberately blow all their projected profits from this and the next Potter book on over-the-top launch events, silly lawsuits, huge discounts and general hoop-la? Then, when the lean non-Potter years come along they can demonstrate that it has made no difference at all to their bottom line.
Of course, if Bloomsbury are looking for a new author to turn into the next J K Rowling, I can recommend an as yet unpublished author of Regency Romps...