Book store readies for next round of ‘Potter-mania’

By Doug Snover

The newest entry in the Harry Potter series of children’s fantasy books, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” goes on sale Saturday, July 16, at one minute past midnight.

To celebrate its release, Changing Hands Bookstore will host a “Fire and Ice” party starting at 10:30 p.m. July 15, with fire dancers to heat up the summer night, $1 snow cones to cool things back down.

British author J. K. Rowlings’ Potter books are a worldwide phenomenon, and midnight parties are commonplace for readers who want to be first in line to purchase the latest installment. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is the sixth book in the Harry Potter series.

It’s been more than two years since “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” came out in 2003.

The Changing Hands Bookstore’s “Fire and Ice” celebration begins at 10:30 p.m. Friday, in the parking lot at 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe. 

As the clock strikes midnight, customers who pre-purchased the book will be given their copies and the sales frenzy will begin.

Changing Hands has about 1,000 copies of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on hand. More than 300 have been pre-purchased. The hardcover book sells for $29.99.

Starting at 10:30 p.m., ‘Fyrae’ fire dancers will entertain the waiting crowd in the parking lot in front of the store. To help the audience cool down during the fire dancing, snow cones in various flavors will be served. A donation of $1 per snow cone is suggested. The store will remain open until 1 a.m. on July 16.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, a representative from the Phoenix Zoo will present “Care of Magical Creatures” to teach children and grown-ups interesting facts about snakes, owls, spiders and other different animals featured in Harry Potter books.

From noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Potter fans and customers can partake of various Potter-related games and activities, including casting your own charms and spells, tarot readings, and making your own potions. 

At 3 p.m., local actor, director and BookPals volunteer Gene Ganssle will read the first chapter of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

For every copy of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” sold July 16-31, Changing Hands will donate $6 worth of books to one of four charities. Customers can choose to donate to the Adult and Family Literacy Project, Children’s Advocacy Center, Open Horizons Child and Family Development Center or the Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Center Libraries.