Potter, Parties and Platform 9 3/4

These local bookstores will be open late on Friday night and ready to sell copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" when the clock strikes midnight.

By Erin Hartigan
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Monday, July 11, 2005


A Likely Story
Potter fans can gather for an imaginative extravaganza at Platform 9 . The bookstore is converting an old conductor's station by the King Street Metro into the depot departure point for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A magician, games and a costume contest are some of the plans for the party. Those who pre-order the book will receive a voucher and $10 of "muggle money" to use at the party. The store has commissioned "Dementor's Kiss," a custom custard from Del Ray Dreamery for the occasion. Prior to the bookstore's 9 p.m. party, the Dreamery will sell the flavor and hand out free lightning bolt cookies to costumed customers.

Barnes and Noble Booksellers
Various locations of the giant bookstore will offer games and events fans of alla ges culminating in the midnight sale of the book. The store is offering a 40 percent discount off the original price.

Borders Books & Music
Various locations will host "Midnight Magic" parties with giveaways, wizard-style treats, games and other activities beginning at 9 p.m. in anticipation of the book's midnight release. The stores will offer a 40 percent discount for pre-orders.

Olsson's Books and Records
The Bethesda, Arlington/Courthouse and Old Town branches of Olsson's will offer Potter-style refreshments and trivia during the countdown to midnight. Olsson's card-holders can purchase a voucher in advance of the release and receive a 25 percent discount.

Politics and Prose
The children's department plans for a big celebration with a costume contest, a magician and, maybe, some Harry Potter edibles. The store has already sold approximately 1,000 Harry Potter vouchers for the book and expects a large turnout for the celebration. Potter partiers are encouraged to arrive at the store parking lot, the location of the festivities (and a queue), at 10:30 p.m. The bookstore will close at the usual time of 11 p.m. and reopen when the book is unveiled at midnight.

Finally, for the no-nonsense fans who are looking to get the book without the hoopla, Kramerbooks, open 24-hours on weekends, will have copies of the book available for purchase at midnight.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company