UK Booksellers Not Willing to Break “Deathly Hallows” Embargo

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Jul 12, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

As we get closer to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the BBC is reporting today about the temptation UK retailers are facing regarding possible early sales of the long awaited Harry Potter novel. The article cites many retailers who are unwilling to break the embargo and will not be selling copies of the book early, however the possibility remains that a few may try to sell the book before the July 21 release date.

It’s quite possible one will break the embargo,” says Katherine Rushton from The Bookseller magazine. “They’d do it to be first, and for all the PR.”

Embargos on previous instalments of the series have generally been observed because Bloomsbury threatened to withhold future Harry Potter books from stores who flouted the rules. This time there is no such incentive.

“Because it’s the final Harry Potter, Bloomsbury doesn’t have that same power,” says Rushton. “It has played its last ace card.”

However many of the retailers said they would not be breaking the embargo:

“I’d be very surprised if anyone sold it early,” said Tim Curtis of The Little Apple Bookshop in York. “I’m not sure consumers would want it.”

“People like to be part of the midnight thing,” agrees Suzanne Jones of Heffers in Cambridge.

“I’ve got an 11-year-old who has got it in her diary and she wants to go out and be part of it.”

“To buy it in the cold light of day on a Friday is just not the same.”

Update: UK publisher Bloomsbury has gone on to speak further on the issue, and release a statement regarding the BBC‘s article. The publisher’s response says, in part:

Our embargo clearly states that in the event of a breach by one party, this does not release other retailers from the embargo to enable them to begin selling before 00.01 on July 21st. Bloomsbury would take immediate action against any copycat embargo breaching.

We have no reason to believe that anyone would want to ruin the excitement for Harry Potter fans, and if such a thing were to happen, we believe that the public would make their feelings known by not buying it from and boycotting such a spoilsport retailer. Millions of Harry Potter fans would revile such commercial opportunism or inefficiency.

Bloomsbury has worked closely with booksellers and other retailers over the last 10 years on Harry Potter, and we have always had overwhelming support from our customers and the general public to keep embargoes. There is a consensus across the trade to maintain the embargo and Bloomsbury ask all our customers to work with us in the next week to preserve the on sale date of 00.01am on July 21st.





24 Responses to UK Booksellers Not Willing to Break “Deathly Hallows” Embargo

Avatar Image says:

They’d do it for the PR?? How is that supposed to work? I can’t imagine Bloomsbury or Scholastic doing anything less than suing them back into the Dark Ages if they release this book early…

Avatar Image says:

They better not sell it early!! How ridiculous.

Avatar Image says:

The carrot and the stick. How about social conscience and fair play?

How ludicrous to simply contemplate the idea.

Being still naive, despite my age, I prefer to think that no one is going to break the embargo. It is also a question of self respect and reputation. I would hate to be the one who shows the world how despicable and contemptuous I am.

Avatar Image says:

Selling DH early? Lawsuits much? Not to mention spoilers? If someone does buy DH early, what’s to keep them from posting spoilers online? Thank Godric Gryffindor for Leaky’s anti-spoiler policy.

If any of them do break the embargo, I hope Bloomsbury throws the book at them.

Avatar Image says:

I’m convinced that at least one person somewhere will end up with a copy before the release. There are plentiful dodgy things going on, and as long as it doesn’t get found out…seriously, if you got chance to read the book early, if you had it in your hand, but you could only take it if you told no-one you had it, you’d do it, right? Maybe… I don’t know. Well, you DEFINITELY wouldn’t tell anyone about it.

Avatar Image says:

Well, I don’t know about that. I would not only refuse it, I’d report it to the authorities too. I know there’s people who would do it though, but not me.

And dind’t all bookstores had to sign a contract to not sell it before hand? i thought there were some newes articles about that. I don’t see what was to gain then by selling it early.

Avatar Image says:

In a society where instant gratification & selfishness often prevails…BRAVO to the booksellers who stick to their agreements not out of the threat of impending lawsuits, but out of respect for the pure moment when a passionate booklover gets that beautiful, crisp, unspoiled treasure in their hands for the last time.

Those people will continue to receive my respect AND money.

Avatar Image says:

Whats this about it not being the same getting the book during the day? rolls eyes I for one, will be getting the book during the day since its released in my country during the day – I know its just one persons comment but it irked me – yeah I’m wierd that way :P

Avatar Image says:

I would NEVER buy the book early, I love getting the books at midnight. I would be devastated if someone spoiled it for me. We have all been waiting a long time for this book, it would just be unfair to buy/sell it early. Plus they would most certainly get sued!

Avatar Image says:

you know, I am not one for midnight things. too much possibility of something nasty happening, and to top it off – even if I get it at midnight (or some time after that) I won’t be able to read it right away as my brain will be mush (yeah, that’s what happens when you have forgotten how it is to be 16). I will buy my book at broad daylight on Saturday, without the lines, and then pick a shady tree to read under. thank you very mush

Avatar Image says:

Selling the book before midnight July 21st is madness and unfair to HP fans! I think the same about people shouting the plot while others are still waiting in line to buy the book.

Avatar Image says:

When I worked in a bookstore, we knew that we could lose the publisher’s next few major bestsellers if we let a book out early – and much smaller books than Harry Potter! Anything by a popular author like Stephen King, Scott Turow, James Patterson, or any highly-anticipated book like an autobiography. I’d guess if someone let DH out early, Bloomsbury/Scholastic might pull out of the store entirely for a couple of months unless it was somewhere with huge sales like a Barnes and Noble in Times Square (I don’t even know if there is one) or something. And that would really damage any store – ever look at how much of a given bookstore’s children’s section is from Scholastic??

Avatar Image says:

Aside from simply pulling future books from the stores’ shelves, they could also refuse further shipment of ‘Deathly Hallows’ to them once that shipment is cleared out. Not everyone will be buying it the first couple of days, but people will be buying it for a long while!

Avatar Image says:

I have a good friend who got HBP like 3 days before it came out at a convenience store! Shh! Top Secret! But true! She wants to go back there for DH to see if they’ll sell it early too! haha…

Avatar Image says:

i still can’t get in my head that this is the END!!! the last chip in the bag, the 7th bowl of homemade suop, the BIG BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s just to much!!! cries a river

Avatar Image says:

It wouldn’t surprise me if a few copies are accidently sold before 12:01 a.m. on July 21 from a retailer who doesn’t normally sell books, like a grocery store, as Dumbles posted above. Still, I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen. Didn’t Scholastic/Bloomsbury/Raincoast have everyone to disclose to them their security on how to prevent this from happening?

Avatar Image says:

I tell you what, if anyone buys the book early and then spoils the plot for me before I get the chance to read the book myself, I’ll punch them!!! I don’t want anything to ruin this moment.

Avatar Image says:

They don’t think anyone would want to ruin it for the fans??? Rubbish. I was emailed a summary of the book the other day. That book is out there and horrible people are determined to spoil it.

Avatar Image says:

J.K says she’s going to continue writing. It may be through Bloomsbury in the future, I don’t think any bookseller is going to try and tempt that kind of fate for what could easily be bad PR

Avatar Image says:

Yes, in Australia we all line up for ‘THE BOOK’ at 7am and I will be VERY annoyed if some retailer ruins the fun, but I will be getting VERY even, by NEVER buying another book in their shop ever again and telling all my friends. I’m so excited and am lining up dressed as Professor McGonagall.

Avatar Image says:

7 days left and i’m still clueless on who to dress up as at the midnight release. I have a feeling am going to just line up in the casual cuz all I want to do is read the book!(cant wait) I think it would be a digrace to any bookstore that sells the book early. Plus the whole midnight excitment is shredded. And just imagine the spoilers in the media NO I have to read it without knowing what happens at the end.

Avatar Image says:

I work in a grocery store and we ge the book to sell a few days early. ON the box it is clearly marked in bold capitalized letters to not sell the bok before a certain date.

Avatar Image says:

Unfortunately, booksellers do not enter into a legally binding contract with Bloomsbury in regards to selling the book at the appropriate time. It’s something of a “gentleman’s agreement.” Bloomsbury’s tactic hitherto has been to deny distribution of future Potter books in punishment for transgression of the embargo. Again unfortunately, this time that is not an option.

I suspect most booksellers will abide by the agreement, but I’m willing to stake my reputation, such as it is, on at least some breaking it. It’s tough, but I think most hardcore Potter fans will have to watch out for the mainstream print news before checking online, and forgo any internet access once it is shown that some have broken the embargo. That is, if people wish to remain spoiler free.

Avatar Image says:

I tried to bribe somebody that worked at the supermarket once lol (It just just s test! ;P) Like everybody said though, not just legal implications but just out of respect for the book it’s unlikely anyone will.

Death to SPOILERS! (STill bitter about the kid who shouted DUMBLEDORE@S DEAD at the last midnight opening)

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