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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wild about Harry

Rhona and I went to Palmer, Mass., on Sunday to visit our son Marc, who's at a sleepaway camp there for eight weeks. We got to his bunk about 10:05 a.m. It was a mere 34 hours and four minutes after the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," but copies of the book were everywhere. Kids were reading them. Counselors were reading them. There were copies on beds and shelves and tables.
We were puzzled. Having no vehicles, these kids have no access to bookstores, so they couldn't have gone out and bought the book in the preceding day-and-a-half. And with the book having just come out, it was too soon for the campers to have received mailed packages from home. And the camp had opened to visitors just five minutes earlier, so even hand-delivered copies of the book could not yet have flooded the camper population. But it seemed like everyone had a copy.
Then one of the campers in Marc's bunk clued me in. A day earlier, the day of the book's release, some 140 preordered copies had arrived in camp from Internet megastore Either the kids, before they left home for the summer, or their parents, in the intervening weeks, had the sense to order the books online and have them delivered directly to the camp. Brilliant.
Marc, having finished the "Order of the Phoenix" shortly after arriving at camp, and then polishing off all of "Half-Blood Prince" in the weeks before we visited, now, of course, wanted "Deathly Hallows" -- so he could complete the series and, perhaps more importantly, so he wouldn't feel left out in a camp where virtually everyone was reading this thing.
Thankfully, there's a giant Wal-Mart a few miles from the camp -- in the town of Ware, Mass. -- and, even more thankfully, the store had hundreds of copies of the book in stock on Sunday. (Either they ordered way too many copies to begin with or they anticipated the demand from the nearby camp, which always floods the store with customers on the annual visiting day.) And the icing on the cake was that the book was on sale for $18.75, nearly half off the cover price. We gladly bought it for Marc.
By the time we left the camp, around 4 p.m., it seemed there were even more copies of the book being toted around by the kids and the staff members. Apparently, we weren't the only ones who made the quick trip to Wal-Mart.



Blogger sherijberi said...

What's better than a parental visit to sleepaway: a visit from

July 25, 2007 at 10:11 PM 

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