Twenty years ago the world was introduced to a little boy with round glasses and a scar. I remember seeing him on the shelf for the first time, I thought it was such a cute and wonderful cover…fast forward a couple of years and the third book of the series was just out and with a little nudge from our corporate offices (Borders) to have someone read the books, saying the books were going to be HUGE, I volunteered.
I had a 6 hour flight to Alaska on a family trip. So I purchased my very first Harry Potter book. The truth is I don’t like to read on planes, I’d much rather listen to my music or look out the window. But I thought a children’s book would be a quick read and something I wouldn’t have to pay much attention. I have never been so wrong. By the time we got off the plane in Anchorage I was looking up every Borders location in the area…calling each to find out if they had Harry Potter books 2 & 3….we drove 50 miles to a Waldenbooks in Wasilla, AK. I finished all three books by the time my vacation was over and went back to work. I had to wait 10 months for the fourth book.
There is something special I noticed, I like to call it BEFORE Harry Potter and AFTER Harry Potter, simple but significant. What many may not have first hand knowledge of is the way these books changed readers, to say that it created a new generation of readers is not giving the books enough credit. In my nearly 20 years with Borders nothing can compare to it. Readers didn’t just change, the world of reading changed. Not only were there readers of EVERY age, gender, and background there were fans who came back for more of OTHER books and other authors…they couldn’t get enough of READING. We couldn’t keep up with recommendations for other “like” Harry Potter books. We created bookmarks, endcap displays, and front of store displays.
So when I think about Harry and his impact…he fundamentally changed the world of readers, regardless if you’ve read the books. There will always be a time before the boy who lived and an after.
I am immensely grateful for the after….Happy 20th Harry! And thank you, JK Rowling.
❤ ❤ ❤