The University Bookstore here in Seattle launched its contribution to Pottermania. A week long tribute to the upcoming release of HP7.
The festivities include a full slate of WizRockStock Concerts where “Hogwarts disciples have created their own genre of indie rock to ease the stress of battling magical and social corruption, and promote literacy,” featuring bands like the The Remus Lupins, The Parselmouths, The Weird Sisters, Firenze and the Centaurs of the Forbidden Forest and Harry and the Potters.
There will be events like these going on in every nook and cranny of this country. The good part is that this is an amazing example of the power of books the bad part is that much of the mania is fueled by corporate culture.
Paul R. LaMonica in his piece on CNNMoney, Harry Potter and the mountains of cash, has come up with a “Potter Index.” The index tracks the performance of various public companies that have a stake in the Harry Potter brand. From Amazon which already has 1 million of the books pre-ordered to Hasbro which sells Harry Potter candies to Mattell who sells the Harry Potter action figures. The index is up 11% for the year outpacing the S&P by almost 3 1/2%. There are a couple of laggards in the index including the two brick and mortar entries Barnes & Noble which is down 2.6% and Borders which is down 12.8%.
The most surprising part of the index is that the two companies closest to the core of the Potter phenomenon aren’t fairing so well either. Scholastic, which publishes the Potter series in the U.S., is up a weak 1.2% and Time Warner, the parent company of Warner Bros. who is releasing the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this week, is down 3% for the year.
Of course there are many other factors involved when it comes to the health of these multi-national corporations but it is an amusing exercise nonetheless during the current fervor.
When the hype is all over I trust it will be the Harry Potter books and movies that will live on in our cultural genes while all that Harry Potter candy will go sour and those action figures will all disappear from the store shelves.