In its first 24 hours on sale, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final installment in the wildly popular series by J.K. Rowling that officially went on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, sold a record 8.3 million copies in the United States, according to Scholastic Inc., the book’s publisher.
What fascinates me here is not the excitement over Harry Potter. Even though I strongly anticipate that it will not be in my Top 10 books of all time, I will refrain from judging it because I haven't read it yet; and if I ever do, it will be in 10 years, when no one talks about it anymore.
What puzzles me is the excitement that drives people to wait in line, pay premiums and make all sorts of efforts to read it FIRST. Samething with movie premieres.
I mean, the book will be as good in a week, a month or even a decade. Is it because people have such boring lives that they need the excitement of waiting in line to buy a book? Is it because they are trying to make a personnality for themselves? Maybe they are seeking a moral advantages over fellows who haven't read the book yet? Or is it simply because the average person is suffering from mental inertia and cannot search any farther than what is offered right in his face? That would explain why most people score better in multiple choices tests.
I just finished a book by French adventurer Henry de Monfreid, a sort of pirate gentleman who smuggled weapons and haschich on the Red Sea at the beginning of the 20th century. The book was published in 1935, before my parents were even born. Since it is impossible to find it in any regular bookstore (they want to sell you the high margin hardcover bestsellers), I bought it online through this fantastic network of French bookstores Livre Rare Book. Paid 10 Euros (15$).
Without even reading J.K. Rowling's latest novel, I'm betting 100$ that this old dusty book with its yellow and torn pages is ten times better than that last Harry Potter.