Time Magazine Feature on Scholastic Effort to Keep “Deathly Hallows” Secret and Special for Fans

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Jun 29, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
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Time magazine has a new in- depth feature on the efforts used by the team at US Harry Potter publishers Scholastic, as they have gone about preparing for the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Detailing the steps the company went through, including a representative traveling to the UK to pick up the final manuscript of the last Harry Potter book (“To make absolutely sure the manuscript was safe on the plane, he sat on it”), to the efforts made by the truck delivering the book (“travel to stores on pallets, sealed in black plastic, in trucks tracked by GPS”), the article points out the extraordinary efforts at hand in order to preserve that special unspoiled moment when we Harry Potter fans pick up the last book for the first time.

“This is the moment of ineffable, intangible ecstasy that occurs when a reader opens his or her brand-new $34.99 copy of Deathly Hallows for the first time. “All the way through the process, everybody who touches this [manuscript] has the same goal in mind,” says Arthur A. Levine, Rowling’s editor. “Midnight. Kids.” The magic moment is a rare and delicate thing: it occurs only when the reader comes to the book in a state of pure ignorance, with no advance knowledge of its contents. For the magic moment to happen, the theory goes, the reader’s mind must be preserved in a state of absolute innocence”it must be, in Internet parlance, spoiler-free.”

The Harry Potter team at Scholastic is interviewed, including past PotterCast guest Cheryl Klein (aka Hotttt Cheryl) who details some of her job as an editor on the books, and what it was like for her when she traveled to the UK to pick up a revised edition of the precious manuscript.

Another early reader was a studious 28-year-old named Cheryl Klein, whose job title is continuity editor. Rowling’s books have become so complex”and their fans so obsessively nitpicky”that it takes a full-time Potterologist to make sure Rowling’s fictional universe stays factually consistent. “I keep track of all of the various proper nouns that appear in the series,” says Klein. “For instance, with Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, I make sure it’s always B-o-t-t-apostrophe-s. Every Flavor is not hyphenated, and Flavor does not have a u.” It’s a tough beat: Klein acknowledges, for example, that in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Moaning Myrtle sits in a U-bend toilet, whereas in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she occupies an S-bend toilet (this crept in, it should be noted, before Klein’s tenure, which began after Goblet). Klein has either the worst job in the world or the best, depending on how you look at it.

Like everyone else at Scholastic, Klein maintains the Harry Potter omertà. “Most people know better than to ask,” she says. “That includes my friends and my family and everyone else.” After Rowling revised the manuscript, per Levine’s and Klein’s suggestions, Klein flew to England to pick up the new draft. On her way home she was stopped for a random security check at Heathrow. “The woman opens up my bag, and she starts pawing through it. And she says, ‘Wow! You have a lot of paper here.’ And I thought, Oh, God, she’s going to look at it, and she’s going to see the names Harry and Ron and Hermione. But I just smiled, and I said, ‘Yes, a lot of paper!’ And she said, ‘Uh-huh,’ and she zipped it up. That was the end of the scariest two minutes of my life.”

The July 3 issue of Time Magazine will be on newsstands this weekend.





59 Responses to Time Magazine Feature on Scholastic Effort to Keep “Deathly Hallows” Secret and Special for Fans

Avatar Image says:

I love the way the article insults the front cover of the UK edition of DH! Charming! I love the UK cover! Id love to know anything about book 7 right now..even number of chapters….or words!

Avatar Image says:

Great article. Bring on July 21st!

Avatar Image says:

FIRST FIRST FIRST!

WOW! actually that’s really funny. They had someone sit on it.

Hmm…well, great, I’m definitely happy they’re taking this precaution…no finding Deathly Hallows in a field and posting the secrets this time!!!!

Avatar Image says:

I love the way that the “magic moment” is described. So realistic to the feeling.

Avatar Image says:

We love you Hottt Cheryl!

Avatar Image says:

I don’t think they REALLY sat on it, that would make it too obvious :p

Avatar Image says:

couldn’t they just throw about 20 fake scans from the book on random internet forums? fill them up with a bunch of contradicting spoilers and then any one who reads them won’t know what to believe. a leak is inevitable, by doing that people would just think the real spoiler was another fake. this isn’t really something i’ve thought through though, but I think it’d be more effective and less expensive than what they’re currently doing.

Avatar Image says:

very nice story

Avatar Image says:

That is so funny with the paper. lol Secutity gaurd would love to hear it was the HP book!


Sara11408 on hexrpg.com Harry Potter Roleplaying game.
Avatar Image says:

It would be so horrible to be spoiled before reading DH! I am taking precautions myself—no book release party, no work for 3 days after the release, no radio or TV or Internet till I finish. When GoF came out, a co-worker told me they were reading the last page on the radio! You have to be careful….

Avatar Image says:

I’ll bet that security guard at that airport is either kicking themselves right now, or they’re breathing a sigh of relief that they didn’t spoil the book for themselves. I hope it’s the later.

I usually stop reading internet stuff on HP (including emails) about 2 days before the book release so I don’t get spoiled. My favorite part of getting a new book is not knowing what it contains. It’s like getting a Christmas present.

Lisa

Avatar Image says:

thats bull$%*! about the US cover being better than the UK one. The UK one has way more clues in it than the us.

Avatar Image says:

well that is such a good idea, and one that’s been used often by various television shows/movie series producers and the like. release contradicting spoilers that seem like they’re all from different sources and if a real spoiler happens to be in the mix, nobody will have any idea.

it’s a certainly a more realistic approach, in my humble opinion at least.

Avatar Image says:

Wow, maybe it’s just me but 34.99 seems like a lot for a book. It’d pay anything to get my hands on a copy—but the frugal side of me feels like someone out there is taking advantage of this fandom. :[

Avatar Image says:

“Scariest two minutes of my life” LOL!

I guess that means Cheryl Klein has not had a very scary life. :)

Avatar Image says:

Nice article, though I have to disagree with the end, where the writer says argues that spoilers are a myth. She has obviously never been spoiled.

Avatar Image says:

$34.99 is just the suggested retail price. Amazon is selling it for $18, and you can probably get it for $20 at your local bookstore.

Avatar Image says:

at least it shows that there very serious about not spoiling it at all, I myself decided not to look on leaky or listen to pottercast untill im finished reading which will be extremely hard but it will be worth it.

Avatar Image says:

The bit about Cheryl Klein made me laugh… Gads, can you imagine!

-B

Avatar Image says:

I guess that guy with the website that claimed to have seen a data base copy of the manuscript is sorry he didnt work as a security guard at the airport! Whether I knew the ending or not, I would still enjoy reading the final book, (but I dont want to know any spoilers!)

Avatar Image says:

Haha, yeah Cheryl Klein!! Way to be a loyal editor and fan! She pretty much has the coolest job right now.

Avatar Image says:

wonders out loud Does Anyone know who has won the allen an dunwin contest for aussie or New Zealand 2 go to london midnight signing??

im pretty gutted i didn’t win lol feel like charlie when he didn’t get a golden ticket!

Avatar Image says:

speaking of spoilers did anyone hear about what happened at one of the bookstores when HBP came out? Everyone had been standing in line forevor and some guy drove past the line and screams out a major plot point (I know what it is but not saying just in case there are some here who haven’t finished it) I’m saying now I would have shot the guy. O.o

anyway I like how much precaution they’re taking and it really says something when she is so worried about what ONE fan might hear throught that security guard. awsome.

Avatar Image says:

A “Potterologist”? Well you know there are some die hard Potter fans out there, bless them! Very cool!

Avatar Image says:

I think it was funny that she got her bags checked and someone almost flipped through the manuscript.

:-p

Avatar Image says:

lotte – they were drawing it at 12:00 AEST today, and notifying people by email and phone. The winners are being posted on the website on July 4th I believe, and are possibly in the paper (I think it was The Australian) this weekend.

The article was extremely interesting – I liked hearing about the whole process. It’s funny though, you never seem to hear anything like that from Bloomsbury – its always Scholastic.

Avatar Image says:

That was so awesome! I can’t wait for that issue to come in the mail! I’m saving that one! Eeek! I knew that bookstores had to sign stuff about the books. I’ve heard so many people talk about the books being on display hours before midnight at places like Kroger and WalMart. I’ve always told these people (who say they heard from someone else; never saw it themselves) that that would be breaking a contract. I’ll ask my brother-in-law! We were chillin’ outside Books-a-Million at the HBP release party about an hour before midnight and he and my nephew walked over to the WalMart (same plaza) and bought us Harry Potter glasses (which I still have). I’m sure he would have noticed if the books had been on display. Oh and lol at the guy who sat on the manuscript and Cheryl’s scariest moment in her lifetime! I would have to meditate like Siddhartha to resist the urge read the book right there in the bathroom of the plane (so at least no one else would see).

Avatar Image says:

lotte, about the comment that the US cover is better than the UK cover: I think the journalist meant the difference between the artists’ styles, as he said that the US was lucky to have GrandPre. It’s an aesthetic thing, not a comment about the content of the covers.

Avatar Image says:

well – I’d bet 10:1 that that’s what they’re doing now.

Avatar Image says:

A well written article, but I disagree with the end. There REALLY is something magical about just immersing yourself, giving yourself completely to the story that the you’re only capable of one page at a time, in order. You don’t know how both YOU AND HARRY are going to come out at the end.. you’re finding out together. That is the magic.

The authors of the article do not understand this. It’s a pity.

Avatar Image says:

Morning All! Tonight sees the start of our annual church Flower Festival which lasts all weekend. There is a garden opening of the very old Tudor house and the village school holds its Sports Day tomorrow. That’s the plan, but the garden was severely flooded this week, and some of the flood water got into the school, and to cap it all heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow and Sunday….

Avatar Image says:

That´s a PR-trick, isn´t it? To pretend that behind every corner someone waits to steal Deathly Hallows as though the whole mankind was interested in Harry Potter! And JKR feeds that with her approvement of spoiler-”politics” at the Leaky-Cualdron. Ridiculous!!!

Avatar Image says:

The night HBP was coming out, I walked into HMV on the Friday afternoon, and then later on, the guy from newsround did a report on how the HMV in Edinburgh, had copies of HBP on the shelfs, and I had walked right past them, and didn’t even notice haha. That could have been a big spoiler!! :p

Avatar Image says:

I’ve found my new career calling -a Potterologist!! :)

Avatar Image says:

That´s a PR-trick, isn´t it? To pretend that behind every corner someone waits to steal Deathly Hallows as though the whole mankind was interested in Harry Potter! And JKR feeds that with her approvement of spoiler-”politics” at the Leaky-Cualdron. Ridiculous!!!

albeit—

what are you talking about? I dont understand, they’re taking EVERY PRECAUTION to avoid spoiling…so…Jo is right to endorse the non-spoiling, as she and her publishers are doing EVERYTHING they can!!!

And…yeah, behind every corner, someone isn’t trying to STEAL Harry Potter, but if you came across the manuscript im sure they wouldn’t throw it away…

Avatar Image says:

well..if you see a long post waaaaaay to the side..I have no clue how that happened ^^ lol

Avatar Image says:

So all of this is on paper? Nothing electronic. I don’t understand how that can be. At some point, I’m assuming, the manuscript has to be transferred to some type of electronic storage before printing.

Am I wrong?

Avatar Image says:

Cheryl has 4 t’s now? I must have missed that.

Definitely the best job in the world.

Great article.

I hope all the news media people read it and heed it. I heard some yahoo on msnbc blurted out a supposed spoiler without warning earlier this week, right on TV. I’m going to have to stop surfing the net about 10 days before the book comes out.

What I’m looking for is pictures of them shipping the books. We saw those last time, and the time before. I remember drooling over stacks of them, I even made it into a background for my computer. Last night they talked about the book on Fox News Live and used footage of people stacking HBP on shelves. It made me laugh, and I wondered if they realized it wasn’t the right book.

Avatar Image says:

You know, I kind of agree with the article when it says that spoilers don’t ruin a great book. It ruins the surprise, that “Oh My God!” Moment, but it doesn’t ruin your enjoyment of the book. I was spoiled about key moments from books 3, 5 and 6 and yet they still are the three best books I have ever read so far in 19 years of my life.

Avatar Image says:

It’s official; Hotttt Cheryl has the best job in the world (aside from parenting my children- who, incidently, decided it would be a GOOD thing to cut their hair by themselves this morning… and all before my cup of coffee): urg.

Avatar Image says:

It’s official: Hotttt Cheryl has the best job in the world- aside from parenting my 3 children- who incidentally, decided it would be a good thing to cut my son’s hair this morning with the Play-doh scissors… and all before my first cup of coffee. Urgh.

Avatar Image says:

I want to say “bring it on!” I’m going a huge book release party and will, like most of you get it at midnight. However, it is my little girl’s 8th birthday weekend, filled with family visiting and a pool party with 50+ kids. I mean, what am I to do? Read the book at the party instead of saving a kid who jumped in over their head? “Hold on, let me finish this chapter!” Love this story. I can’t wait for the magic moment, or can I?

Avatar Image says:

Hmmmmmmm. “Hottt Cheryl” missed something. In PoA, Hermione “slaps [Malfoy] around the face.” In HBP, there’s a reference to hermione “punching” Malfoy. That happened in the FILM version of PoA, but NOT the book!

Avatar Image says:

What a great article! It gave me goosebumps! I really like the part where it points out how Moaning Myrtle lives in a Ubend in COS but in GOF she lives in an Sbend but “this crept in, it should be noted, before Klein’s tenure, which began after Goblet.” And that magic moment… it’s going to be better than Christmas or birthdays or anything!!!

Avatar Image says:

Yeah but in hindsight, people tend to embellish and make a slap sound like a pinch when they are retelling the story or remembering it. Might not be a mistake

Avatar Image says:

Pinch was supposed to be punch, sorry obviously cannot spell

Avatar Image says:

It is so awesome that someone is taking precautions to make sure there are no spoilers! I got hooked on HP late and this is my first – and last – time reading a HP book the day it comes out. It will be so special. I can’t wait til Deathly Hallows!!! :D

Avatar Image says:

Very amusing that article.

Personally, I prefer the English cover.

Once you place a text in a computer it can be pirated by a hacker. Let us hope that the secret will be welll kept till the end of the period. Once the book is out… anything can happen.

Avatar Image says:

Reading the article and realizing the release of our final Harry Potter book is right around the corner brought a tear to my eye. I am NOT ready for it! This wait has just been too much fun. I wish we had more time. sigh

Avatar Image says:

I understand what you mean kristi! I think my subconscious didn’t even acknowledge yet that the final book will be released soon. I can’t wait to read it but at the same time, I don’t feel excited because it hasn’t sunk it yet that it’s the very last book. It’s like I can’t believe it. I feel like it’s the 6th book again, like it’s not possible for Harry Potter to really end. At least there will still be the movies… but after that?? Noooo!! ...at least there will always be fanfics…right?

sigh I’m rereading the books and I’m still just reading the second… I think I’m subconsciously trying to push back the moment when I have to read the 7th book, because at this rate I won’t have finished the 6th book when Deathly Hallows comes out! I think also that I’m afraid to be disapointed, because with all those years of theorizing, I’ve come to really believe some things even thought they weren’t comfirmed (like Snape being on Dumbledore’s side) and I’m afraid to be proven wrong, and that the book will be less interresting for me because of it. I’m also afraid to be disapointed if there are questions that will stay unanswered….

Anyway, This article was very interresting! ...about the covers, well, I like the UK cover better… but mostly because I don’t get the US one. Why Harry looks so happy in it? I suppose it will make sense when I’ve read the book… but it’s just strange and I’m afraid of what it might mean…

Avatar Image says:

mmm…quite frightened of spoilers…everyday i promise myself that I won’t look at any HP pages, anda every night I seem to have been around at least 5 times…lol

Avatar Image says:

I am confused here. Here is the last HP book, knowing how much security and money has passed through this in 10 years, and she can’t take a private lear jet? Scholastic can surely afford that. And the security people would be told of what it is. No needing to search her bag! This is silly! The most important thing awaits us, and she just goes through a regular terminal? It would have been spoiled right there! Where was her security? Same thing happenned to Jo too.Well, I am awaiting them telling us they are printing it now..hope that is soon, for us to see!

Avatar Image says:

Sitting on it? In a carry-on bag? I guess I’m showing my age if I say I expected it to be in a locked briefcase, handcuffed to her left wrist. Then again, the “Purloined Letter” approach seems to have worked, too. (See Edgar Allen Poe).

But sitting on hundreds of pages on an international flight—oh, her achin’ back!

As for paper, if the pages are camera-ready with all the crop marks, etc, then it’s ready to go to press—literally. No electronics needed at that point. High-quality books have been published without computers for many, many decades.

Avatar Image says:

lol… i love that he had to sit on it!!! and that wouldve been the scariest time of my life too…

i actually DONT want to know anything yet. i am incredibily pissed that i probably wont be in my house when my copy of DH arrives. i have to take my school senior pics at 3PM… hopefully the mailman will come before then… hopefully. but i dont want anything ruined for me. its already enough to have the covers and know that the last word is “scar”... if it still is.

<3padfootrocksmysocks

Avatar Image says:

lol Kevin! some strange things happen to my posts too!

I like the sitting on the manuscript bit and the scariest two minutes at security! Makes you realise how dfficult it all is logistically.

I’m not seeing another soul (except for my husband) for three whole days when DH comes out, to make sure I’ve finished it before being spoiled (and it had better arrive on the Saturday 21st as promised otherwise my efforts will be ruined; I have to go into work on the Tuesday 24th)!

Avatar Image says:

“You know, I kind of agree with the article when it says that spoilers don’t ruin a great book. It ruins the surprise, that “Oh My God!” Moment, but it doesn’t ruin your enjoyment of the book. I was spoiled about key moments from books 3, 5 and 6 and yet they still are the three best books I have ever read so far in 19 years of my life.”

Exactly, Luiz! Spoilers may rob you of that magical moment, which is really something precious and special and I pity the fools who can’t understand it, BUT there is more to the book than that singular magical moment. I thought the authors grasped and articulated that beautifully.

I’ve always wondered what real leverage Scholastic has with booksellers anymore, now that the threat of “we will withhold the next Potter book if you breach the contract” has gone away. I guess it all comes down to money—the financial penalties they can exact.

Avatar Image says:

Avoiding spoilers at all cost…

Remember the movie The Sixth Sense? I was the only person who hadn’t seen it in a room with 15 people who had. Once they realized I hadn’t seen it they all went strangely silent…slightly giving away that there must be a “trick”. Luckily, I was so ingrossed at the “critical moment” that I didn’t notice all eyes on me—waiting for the reaction. “OMG! He’s….”

So, when the authors of this article say there is no such thing as spoilers…Pa-lease!!! Let us get excited about a book!!! :)

Thanks to Jo & Scholastic for protecting my moment.

July 21st—12:01 am…my local bookstore…that would be me standing in line with my husband & our 1 1/2 month old strapped to my chest…purchasing books for each of us…

Avatar Image says:

Hi

Best rates! Bye

Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: They did succeed!

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