I have a dilemma. More accurately, I had a dilemma; only time will tell whether I made the right choice.
See, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is coming out in 76 days (June 21st). I’m quite keen to get my hands on a copy; I’m not exactly fanatical about it, but the series has been good fun to read so far, so why not. Anyway, I’ll be in Cambridge at the release date, and it goes without saying that there will be multiple Harry Potter parties going on at Borders and Waterstones, to name but two major Cambridge bookstores. Undoubtedly there will be other things organised, and I will probably pop my head in to a few (granted, I might be the oldest person there but what the hell).
However. The retail price for Harry Potter is £17. Needless to say, this is unacceptable; there is no way I’m going to spend £17 on a book, even if it is almost 900 pages long, especially if I can get it for £8.50 from Amazon. The problem is, how long will it take Amazon to deliver my book? I’m fairly certain that they will have stocks of the book before the release date, of course, but they still need to be despatched. The best case delivery scenario is that I get the book on the morning of June 21st. More realistically, I’ll have to wait for a day or two.
Now, the more pragmatic of you are probably thinking, ‘So what? One or two days is fine, you’ll survive.’ But will I? The very knowledge that there are literally millions of other people out there, reading the book while I am not, and probably spoiling it to everyone else is enough to drive a man to distraction. Indeed, the temptation will be huge, even moreso at the release parties when everyone else is getting their hands on the books and no doubt reading it there and then.
So, the issue boils down to whether my emotional distress over one or two days is worth £8.50. And being the student that I am, I have concluded that it is not. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that I should order it from Amazon, which is what I have done. Have I made a terrible mistake? Am I, yet again, obsessing over completely inconsequential things? Only time will tell.
One Reply to “Harry Potter and the Pre-Order of Doom”
No, very sensible considerations all. As a data point, I believe that Amazon managed to post the copies of Goblet of Fire (which, IIRC, was likewise released on a Saturday) on the Friday before so that they arrived on the Saturday in question. This would be a good result.
Most of the Harry Potter fandom does not have a very satisfactory solution to this yet. The fact that it’s being released at midnight BST poses a large problem: unless you’re seriously nocturnal, you don’t want to spend midnight to (say) 8am reading a novel – you want to get into a good frame of mind first, which is probably best done during the day. There’s also the temptation that if you pick up the book at midnight then you might not be able to stop yourself from reading it. I understand that the book is being released at the equivalent of midnight BST in Australia, which probably works out at between 9am and noon local, which seems far more sensible to me. Less conducive to a good midnight party at the bookshop, more conducive to being able to enjoy the book.
What I’d like to do would be to read it in good company; a group of us get together, read a chapter, all stop and discuss it, then all read the next chapter together and so on. Haven’t organised it yet, though. (Possibly better still would be to listen to a good reader read the novel out loud, though allow two full days at a guess to get through the whole story this way.) Strangely there’ll be a gang of us getting together in Oxford the weekend before, which does seem rather a missed opportunity.