In an unprecedented show of unity, Harry Potter fan sites have thrown their support behind a new service designed to help people find, plan and attend a special event for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
PotterParties.com, developed by staff of the Floo Network and in association with HPANA, houses a database of parties worldwide and will soon include a national ZIP code search for U.S. fans to locate their nearest participating bookstore.
From the full press release:
As fans around the world prepare to return to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, Hermione and their friends, bookstores around the world are planning events to commemorate the publication of this special book. Millions of fans will gather at bookstores to get their copies at the stroke of midnight on July 16, 2005, celebrating with special parties and themed activities.
"To a Harry Potter fan, the night before the release of a book is like New Year's Eve," said Melissa Anelli, editorial director of the site. "This site makes it easy for fans to choose exactly how to celebrate this momentous release, and supplies bookstores and parents with easy and safe ideas on how to make it truly special."
"We were already working to develop a way for fans to find local events at large U.S. bookstore chains through a simple ZIP code search," said Jeff Guillaume of HPANA. "When we heard that all the fan sites were getting together to support PotterParties.com, we immediately began working to roll our technology into the service."
The database is far from being complete and in fact will continue to grow up until July 16. Anyone can submit event details. Plus, fans will be able to view their nearest Barnes & Noble, Borders Books and Music or Books-A-Million locations starting next week. Each has provided PotterParties.com with a description of their national events in the U.S.
[Editor's note: I must personally thank Melissa and all the other great people from The Floo Network development team. One of the main goals of this project was to get all the fans together, and it has definitely worked. Thanks for putting up with our toying and teasing, and we hope to see you July 16... somewhere!]