Store awaits Potter delivery

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NORWAY – You won’t find out who R.A.B. is at Books N Things just yet.

Erica Jed, the store’s owner, says she has received careful instructions for the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the highly anticipated conclusion to the series about an English wizardry academy.

Jed ordered 150 of the books in February. As of Thursday afternoon, 128 of them were reserved for pre-ordering Muggles, as fans are sometimes known.

“We had to sign our lives away,” she laughs. “We had to sign all sorts of affidavits that we wouldn’t release it before midnight.”

Jed says it is typical for booksellers to sign an affidavit in order to receive books early. Stores risk losing the privilege of receiving books prior to their release date if they jump the gun on sales.

With the latest Harry Potter novel, however, she had to sign two additional forms. One was with the wholesaler from which she purchased the books, the other was with Scholastic, the book’s publisher in the United States.

The embargo, attempting to keep a lid on the novel’s plot twists and conclusion, has already been compromised. The New York Times has printed a review of the novel from a book purchased before the release, and purported spoilers are appearing online. According to news reports, Scholastic has said it will sue distributors who sold the book early.

Jed says the imminent release has not caused any problems at her store.

“In Norway, Maine, everyone seems to be patiently waiting,” she says.

While the store’s shipments usually arrive via FedEx, Jed says the Harry Potter novel is contracted for delivery by UPS today. Technically, no one is even supposed to see the boxes they’ll come in. However, Jed sees no way around that particular request, as her deliveries come through the front door.

The books are also supposed to be kept under lock and key, but Jed expects that they will not arrive until shortly before their scheduled release.

“There’s no point in putting them in a vault for an hour,” she says.

Jed says UPS also guarantees that the shipment will arrive, regardless of vehicular breakdown or any other unforeseen occurrence.

Books N Things will join bookstores across the nation in selling the novels at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, the book’s official release date. Festivities begin at 9 tonight and will include games, activities, and snacks of crumpets and pumpkin juice.

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