As wee bairns across the land eagerly await the arrival of the fifth Hairy Plodder book, BB notes the following related news items: * After 7,000 copies are stolen from a TNT delivery, Merseyside police warn that anyone caught reading them - we’re talking about a book aimed at kids, remember - will be prosecuted. (Frankly, knowing what scousers are allegedly like, the only solution may be to kill all the first-born in Liverpool.) * JK Rowling, via her US publisher, is suing an American newspaper for $100m after they printed brief extracts and a synopsis based on a copy bought from an unwitting health food shop. (Obviously the health food shop had $100m less in revenue and a tighter case, so they aren’t being sued. It’s a shame the paper didn’t have it couriered from Liverpool, then Merseyside police could have arrested the editor.) * Rowling’s Canadian publisher reportedly offered a woman $5,000 to return a copy sold to her by mistake. She refused because she “hadn’t finished reading it yet”. (We really don’t know who’s crazier here. Lock them both up in a secure ward.) * One web site already offers three ways to download the text from file-sharing networks. My ghod, we thought ripping off struggling record companies was bad enough but this is Grand Larceny - send in the marines!! * Bloomsbury announce higher profits than expected due to advance demand for the new book. * JK Rowling is now richer than the Queen, Onassis, Croesus and Russia. The marketing people said so. Ah, Bloomsbury - capturing the magic and innocence of childhood!
We trust Merseyside police are doing their utmost to recover the stolen books, as obviously the whole HP phenomenon would collapse and Bloomsbury be left bankrupt if the plot were to leak out 24 hours before the official release. Presumably even now they’ve pulled all their detectives off the usual drug and murder inquiries to pump the Liverpool criminal underworld for leads: > “‘Ere, Ron Weasly’s my favourite.”
“Don’t you know? He dies at the end of the new book!”
“RIGHT, YOU’RE NICKED, MY SON!!”
“Aaaahhh!!! Hagrid, save me!!”
“Sarge, I’ve caught one of ‘em! How long can we detain minors for?!”
Perhaps dealers are pushing badly photocopied fakes on to eight year olds at the school gates as I type this. > “Hey kid, try dis, it’ll get you reely high, like!”
“Fook off la’, where’s me heroin?”
Despite the lucrative rewards from publishing Harry Potter, Bloomsbury must be gutted that millions of kids are now going to have unlicensed thoughts about the him; basing dreams and childish fantasies on him and his pals without purchasing the rights to use the characters! If only merchandising agreements extended to the mental realm…
Reports that the government is considering legislation forcing everyone to purchase a copy of the seventh book on release (following the Vatican’s canonisation of Rowling) are assumed to be premature. But our capacity to be surprised is currently exhausted.