Waterstones is gearing up for the release of J K Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them screenplay (Little, Brown Book Group) today (18th November) to be its second biggest title of the year.
The 280-strong chain store is preparing more than a 100 parties at shops across the estate to mark the launch of the screenplay.
Waterstones declined to give exact pre-order numbers but said the screenplay of the book, out today to coincide with the film, is the company’s biggest pre-order title this year after Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne (also published by Little, Brown).
More than 100 Waterstones shops will hold events to celebrate the launch, with eight hosting midnight openings. Most will be free, although some will be ticketed, including a ‘Fantastic Beasts Masked Ball’ at the flagship shop in Piccadilly, London. The £15 event features a Fantastic Beasts quiz and live music, and ticket holders will be given a copy of the screenplay and drinks vouchers.
Children’s book buyer for Waterstones, Florentyna Martin, said: “We have been treated to an unexpectedly magical year of publishing, courtesy of J K Rowling, and we are incredibly excited to champion the wizarding world through Christmas. The wider schedule of tie-in titles for Fantastic Beasts is like nothing we’ve seen before and we’ll have something for everyone to celebrate this incredible new era of wizardry.”
Foyles has organised a 1920s party at its Charing Cross branch, which includes drinks and a swing dance, then entry to a 9.30pm screening of the film. Tickets cost £25 or £35 to include a copy of the screenplay.
Several publishers are releasing titles to tie in with the release of the film, including HarperCollins, whose books include The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (h/b, £30.00) and Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (h/b, £14.99). The publisher is providing retailers with ‘Fantastic Beasts’ marketing packs. These include lifesize cut-outs, posters, bookmarks and giant colouring walls.
However, none of the independent bookshops contacted by The Bookseller – Booka Bookshop, Bookseller Crow, Tales on Moon Lane, The Edinburgh Bookshop and Winstone’s – said they were hosting a party or launch event. Booka said it was not hosting a party because it is organising a Christmas late-night opening this week, whilst Winstone’s said it was too busy with its day-to-day activities. The Edinburgh Bookshop said it is not having an event because Waterstones in Edinburgh is having a midnight opening.
Last week independent booksellers said they were angry they could no longer get hold of the 2001 edition of Fantastic Beasts ahead of the film release today.
A Bloomsbury spokesperson confirmed at the time that the publisher was withholding copies of the original 2001 Fantastic Beasts title in anticipation of releasing a new edition, with a foreword by J K Rowling, next year. "The current edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not available to all retail customers as a new edition is set to publish in March 2017," the spokesperson said.