SINGAPORE - Harry Potter fans awoke bright and early on Sunday (July 31) to get their hands on a new story on The Boy Who Lived, nine years after the release of the supposedly final volume in the series.
Major bookstores Popular, Books Kinokuniya and Times opened the doors of all or some of their outlets at 7.01am to coincide with the international release of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts I and II, a script book of a new London play based on a story by the creator of the magical world, J.K. Rowling, director John Tiffany and playwright Jack Thorne.
Besides officially launching the sale of the books, the booksellers got in on the Potter frenzy and with plenty of fringe activities for fans too.
Some early-bird customers at Kinokuniya's Ngee Ann City queued up from as early as 5am. The spokesman for the bookstore said approximately 200 people were in queue when the doors opened.
All of Popular's 28 outlets opened at 7.01am but only its Bras Basah outlet hosted a magical party, complete with games and door gifts. Some 120 fans queued up for the launch party.
Fans got to take part in a Sorting Hat ceremony, played Quidditch Pong, and also munched on Harry Potter themed food inspired by the broom stick, the golden snitch ball and cauldron.
The book is retailing at $39.90 at the bookstores but
Kinokuniya is offering a 20 per cent discount for just Sunday. Times has a 20 per cent discount on the book from Sunday till Aug 31. Pre-order prices varied for each store.
Polytechnic student and self declared diehard fan Tan Yi Min, 17, came to Kinokuniya's Ngee Ann City branch dressed as Luna Lovegood, her favourite character. She participated in a cosplay contest in store later.
Her shopping basket was filled with Harry Potter badges, a Quidditch set, folders.
"I just grabbed whatever I liked. I didn't even look how much it costs."
Marketing manager Melissa Foo, 38, woke up at 5am and went to Kinokuniya before visiting the Popular outlet at Brash Basah.
"I'm not sure how this book is going to be since it's in a different format but I'm glad that there is something new," she told The Straits Times.
At the Times outlet in Waterway Point, a temporary Harry Potter tattoo station was set up, with delighted fans walking away with a tattoo of the lightning scar on the boy wizard's forehead.
Teacher Chong Koh You, 34, popped by the Times outlet in Waterway Point after a run to buy the script book. "I was pleasantly surprised that they opened early," he said.