Only one book can bring about the mayhem that occurred this past weekend, and I have to say even though I was exhausted, I loved every single minute of the madness.
I guess the best way to go over this night is to go through a bit of a timeline. We have been taking reservations for this book for close to nine months and planning a party for about six months. The final two weeks were chaos with shopping and planning and reservations for the book coming in at a frightening clip.
On Friday I got to work at 7:30 to open the store for the regular business day, which was anything but regular. Early on in the day customers started pouring in wanted to reserve the book and get information on the party. All the while we were trying to iron out the final details, finish proofreading and finalizing the information sheet and making copies.
At 6:30 when the store closes for the regular business day I run over to the hotel and check in and I am back in the store in five minutes. By closing time we had close to 400 reservations. From 6:30- 9:00pm, the trade manager and myself work to transform the store into Harry Potter Party Central. We planned a trivia contest and scavenger hunt, we prepared crafts for the children of all ages including wand making and coloring. We also had a bookseller reading the first book, and the creative attendees could write their own ending to the series.
By 9:00 the rest of the general book staff reported back to the store to help put the finishing touches on the party and put out the food and refreshments. At 9:45 all of the remaining booksellers came in and we had a quick meeting and then opened the doors to the customers waiting at the door. We were expecting a couple hundred people since K Square is not the biggest and most accessible location in Boston. As the night proceeded and people were participating in the all of the activities it became obvious that we underestimated the total turnout. The energy was contagious as the book release drew closer. By 11:30 we had well over 400 people in the store and started lining people up in two lines to get the book. People with reservations went in one line and walk in book buyers went in the other. With 10 minutes to go we revealed the books from under a few tablecloths to a cheer from the crowd. With five minutes left we mad announcements leading up to 12:01 and at midnight the crowd started a countdown right until the official release. At this time we had over 500 people in the store.
In less than an hour we sold almost 300 books to delighted fans, and the best part was that every customer was smiling and a delight. They were all thrilled to be at a party and getting some of the first copies of the book.
At approximately 2:30 am the store was almost back to normal and we were ready to open the following day, the only thing was my trade manager couldn't find his keys. I finally got to the hotel at 3:00 in the morning and needed a bite to eat. I was sleeping by 4 and had to be back by 8 to open the store. When the alarm went off i was in no mood to move and get out of bed but I was so happy that I decided to get the hotel room.
I was back in the store by 8:15 and by the time we were ready to open the doors at 10 we had people waiting to purchase the books. This trend continued all day as we sold another 250 copies of the book through out the day.
We sold over 500 copies of the book and I worked 31 out of 36 hours. It was quite the experience.