Selma readies for latest in the ‘Harry Potter’ series

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2003

For 7-year-old Kara Pickering, reading &uot;Harry Potter&uot; is a family event.

She started reading the books with her mom when she was in the first grade, completing the first four books in just a few months by reading two to three chapters a night.

After that, Kara went back and read the third book in the series on her own for a reading competition.

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Now she and her mom, Wendy, are among the millions waiting for the fifth installment in the series, &uot;Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.&uot; It’s scheduled to come out at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Wendy Pickering isn’t quite sure she’ll be able to get a copy of the enormously popular book right away. She recently joined a waiting list for the series at Barnes and Noble in Montgomery.

The Pickerings may not have to make the long drive to Montgomery to find Harry. Karen Brook, a spokesperson from Wal-Mart’s public relations office, said the book will be available in Selma after 12:01 a.m.

Becky Nichols, director of the Selma-Dallas Public Library, said that the library purchased three books. As expected, they are all reserved. Nichols estimated that at least 10 people are on the waiting list for the books &045;&045; and that’s not counting adults.

There are plenty of people who are searching for the book in other ways &045;&045; especially those who are keeping a sharp eye out for stores that jump the street date for the book.

In Florida, a 14-year-old girl discovered a copy of the book at a Walgreen’s and her mother bought it.

The store immediately pulled the rest of the books. Another store in New York also put out books before the street date by mistake.

In England, 7,680 copies of the book were stolen earlier this week.

The Daily News purchased a copy of the book from the New York store that had it and published tidbits from it. Author J.K. Rowling and U.S. publisher Scholastic Inc. filed a $100 million lawsuit against the newspaper Wednesday.

Clocking in at around 900 pages, &uot;Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix&uot; may be the longest children’s book ever published. Rowling acknowledged in a recent interview for the British Broadcasting Corp. that a lot of the hype surrounding the book concerns the secrecy of the plot &045;&045; an idea that she came up with.

Nichols doesn’t mind the hype that’s surrounding Harry Potter’s latest venture.

Wendy Pickering agreed.

One of the tidbits Rowling did release has caused a lot of speculation &045;&045; one of the central characters will die in the fifth installment.

Cynthia Milhouse, who was supervising a group of children at the Selma library, thinks that Hermione, one of Harry’s close friends, will get hurt in the book.

But she’s not quite sure who will die.

There are any number of people in the series that could fit Milhouse’s guess.

But she’ll be able to find out come midnight.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.