19 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Code of the Sith

Publishers Weekly reported today on Will Collier, an Atlanta-area executive who ordered a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from an online discounter and received it on Tuesday. The magazine said:

Collier put his copy up for sale on ebay without reading it--or even peaking [sic] at the end of the book to find out whether Harry lives or dies. He said he'd rather take his time reading the book. And though he sold the book, he doesn't have much use for anyone who would reveal its contents. "I think that's pretty rotten," he said. "When I was a teen-ager, I wouldn't have wanted anyone coming out of a movie theater telling me, "Darth Vader is Luke's father." [Have they forgotten how to punctuate at PW?]
Actually, we know exactly how "much use" Collier has for someone who might reveal the Potter saga's ending: at least $250 worth. That was his minimum price for the book on eBay. He didn't keep his copy to himself to help ensure no teenagers' enjoyment was spoiled by "pretty rotten" people. He didn't share it with a young neighbor or relative, if he knew one. He didn't go to the local hospital and donate it to a sick child. No, he put it up for sale to the highest bidder.

The Washington Post revealed:
Collier said the book was purchased yesterday by an editor at Publisher's [sic] Weekly. Editors at Publisher's Weekly could not be reached for comment. [They, of course, have experience dealing with advance copies.]

In lieu of further details, Collier responded by offering for $300 a written account of his story, which he'd sentimentally titled, "I Was an eBay Voldemort." The Washington Post declined.
Then Collier sold his piece to the National Review. It reveals that he also considered breaking eBay's rules after using its resources to publicize his sale ("eBay hates this kind of thing"), evaded a phone conversation with someone from Scholastic ("I hung up without responding"), and runs on fumes of resentment toward "media organizations" like, well, of all things, Publishers Weekly.

As Collier insists, he has the right to resell his copy of the book, and to sell his story about it. But to try to present himself as righteous because he himself didn't spoil the story--it's too late for that. He's already gone to the Dark Side.

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