Solving the Harry Potter security problem

by on July 21, 2007 at 8:13 pm in Books | Permalink

Seth Godin looks to the economic theory of complements:

Publish the first edition of the book without the last three chapters.
Take your time, save the $20 million [spent on security]. Every purchaser then gets access
(hey, everyone gets access) to the last three chapters on launch day.

1 Andrew July 21, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Does that actually solve anything? All it does it make it easier for the ending to leak – there’s only three chapters for some assiduous person to photograph and leak instead of the whole book. As long as you ship it to stores, it will leak before it gets there. No preventing it. Plus, who would purchase the incomplete first edition? I can’t see it being anything but the same and worse.

Besides, he asserts that nobody would read it online. I personally clawed through the 800-ish pages, fuzzy text and all, finishing up six hours before it was released in my time zone.

2 anonymous July 21, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Do people really care about spoilers?

Movie trailers are notorious for giving away key plot details. And yet, we can confidently assert that this makes people more likely rather than less likely to see the movie — otherwise, marketing geniuses would stop making such trailers.

From a marketing perspective, the Harry Potter books are more like movies than books: the release is an event, and most people want to experience it on the “opening weekend” along with everyone else.

If I tell you about the part where Voldemort says “Harry, I am your father”, would that make you less likely to buy the book?

3 JEAN July 22, 2007 at 7:05 am

Most trailers are from another movie.You never see a movie as good as its trailers.

4 Tom Maguire July 22, 2007 at 9:46 am

Solving the Harry Potter security problem

I am pretty sure that having millions of people falling in line to buy your product at midnight is not a “problem”. So I’ll agree with the notion that the security expense and effort is simply part of the promotional hype.

Movie trailers are notorious for giving away key plot details.

The Potter books are not a “most movies” situation – I really don’t expect that I will be ever again in this lifetime be standing in a Barnes and Noble having a New Years in July party for a book.

5 save_the_rustbelt July 22, 2007 at 3:39 pm

All of the hype about security problems created an immense amount of publicity, as if that was necessary.

6 Jon July 23, 2007 at 1:11 pm

“If I tell you about the part where Voldemort says “Harry, I am your father”, would that make you less likely to buy the book?”

Please tell me you’re joking, am I the only person on the planet who has NOT read this yet?

7 Lance July 24, 2007 at 2:25 pm

we can confidently assert that this makes people more likely rather than less likely to see the movie — otherwise, marketing geniuses would stop making such trailers.

I certainly do not claim to represent everyone, but I have not watched commercials in years (except for deliberately watching Superbowl commercials) thanks to both Tivo and reducing my TV consumption.

Likewise, I only watch DVDs and avoid going to movie theater because of the commercials (mostly trailers) that preceed the movie.

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