Truckers worldwide entrusted with precious 'Harry Potter' cargo

| Friday, July 15, 2005

A 16-year-old boy with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead is all it took to send trucks and postal systems worldwide scrambling down secret passageways in a quest to protect their sacred cargo.

In preparation for the Saturday, July 16 release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” boxes of the book – its plot a heavily guarded secret – are being secured for distribution at Muggle shipping warehouses across the globe. Boxes of the books are being double-shrink-wrapped, kept under constant guard and shipped using unannounced routes and delivery times, WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, FL, reported.

"Besides an extreme fluke, no one's getting this book early," Chris Metz, spokesperson for distribution house Books-A-Million, told the television station.

Pottermania has cast quite a spell – even the Unite States Postal Service issued a statement assuring customers that they will do their best to make sure each copy of the book – the sixth in the staggeringly popular series – arrives safely in the hands of its owners on Saturday.

“We’re delighted to have a role in helping young people discover the joy of reading,” said USPS Chief Marketing Officer Anita Bizzotto. “Our employees will make sure that hundreds of thousands of excited fans can enjoy the new book on the day it is released.”

Meanwhile, in England, Pottermania has struck London’s Royal Mail service, which will be calling in an extra 150 trucks to distribute half a million copies of UK-borne author J.K. Rowling’s book from warehouses to delivery offices across the UK, the marketing Web site brandrepublic.com reported.

“We have been planning for the Harry Potter book launch for many months and are looking forward to delivering copies ordered online to children, and adults, in all parts of the UK on Saturday,” Richard Roche, spokesperson for the Royal Mail, told brandrepublic.com.

According to the Web site, the British version of amazon.com has already taken 350,000 preorders for the book. Compounded with preorders totaling more than 1 million from amazon.com and Barnes and Noble worldwide, the book is easily expected to become the biggest-selling single item ordered online for delivery on a single day.

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