Harry Potter and the AP’s Shenanigans (Updated)

From an AP story that’s making the rounds the last half-hour or so:

As of Wednesday morning, the $34.99 release was being offered on eBay, for immediate purchase, for $250.

“That’s right — I’ve got one copy of Harry Potter 7, on July 17, and it can be yours as soon as July 19. Hurry! Confirmed payment by 6:30PM on July 18 will ensure delivery on July 19 by FedEx Priority Overnight!” read a message from a seller identified as “willpc” and based in Atlanta.

“I don’t work for a bookstore, and I don’t have a magic wand — an online store shipped a copy early.”

Two pictures of the book, which sits upon a copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are offered as proof. The seller, who declined immediate comment when e-mailed by The Associated Press, has been an eBay member since 1999 and has a perfect “Feedback” score, according to the “Feedback Profile” for willpc.

Here’s your news scoop for the day: I am “willpc.” The “pc” stands for Panama City, Florida, where I was living when I started my eBay account way back in 1999.

As you can imagine, I’ve had an interesting 24 hours, and I’ll be retelling it directly, either here at VodkaPundit or elsewhere, but for the moment, I post to officially call shenanigans on the Associated Press. I have not been contacted by them either by email or in any other medium, and as such I have not declined to talk to them (although I officially decline now–lie about me, and your interview window is closed).

Needless to say, more to follow.

UPDATE: Since publishing my article at NRO, I’ve been credibly advised that the incorrect line in the July 18 Associated Press story was due to miscommunication and not malice or sloth. I appreciate the follow-up I’ve received in this matter, and hold no hard feelings towards the AP or the article’s author.

14 Responses to “Harry Potter and the AP’s Shenanigans (Updated)”

  1. Shelby Says:

    I note that AP also made the obligatory basic-math error, turning “one-hundredth of one percent” of 12 million into 120, rather than the correct 1,200. Oh well, at least they have all those squishy layers of editors…

  2. vodkafan Says:



    They had no idea they’d get called on the carpet for this one by somebody people actually know and respect.

  3. Patrick Carroll Says:

    You poor man! Seriously.

    I hope you’re able to get sleep.

    BTW, I hope all in AL are ok.

  4. Passerby Says:

    Not to quibble, but did the AP try to contact you through the eBay internal messaging system?

  5. caltechgirl Says:

    Tell me you at least read it first….

  6. kcom Says:

    Whether they attempted to reach him through the eBay system or some other way, they can’t truthfully make the claim that he denied to comment unless he actually sent them a note saying “I decline to comment.” If they simply couldn’t reach him for a comment, that’s a whole different situation. I certainly hope the AP has the ability to distinguish between the two. I’m not going to bet my life savings on it, though.

  7. Max Says:

    ..who declined immediate comment when e-mailed by The Associated Press..

    KCom is right. To decline comment requires that willpc affirmatively declined to comment.

    Could not be reached, was unavailable, or did not respond, are typically used when there’s not acknowledgment of the attempt to solicit comments from a subject.

  8. TallDave Says:

    Just be glad their mistake didn’t involve mass decapitation this time.

  9. TallDave Says:

    Oh, and call me a greedy capitalist pig, but I would’ve asked for $1000.

    After I read it, of course.

  10. S. Weasel Says:

    Hm. So Deep Discount has it in hand, waiting for the appropriate ship date? So do the other booksellers, too, then. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a LOT of leakage…that means hundreds of people have ready access to a copy, many of them working jobs in stock or the mailroom that they probably wouldn’t give a flip about losing.

  11. Dexter Westbrook Says:

    You say you’re willpc. Where is your proof? I call bullshit on you. You’re lying.

  12. d00d Says:

    Dexter, you forgot to Question The Timing(tm).

  13. Foxfier Says:

    So…. The famous MSM editors missed something like “We talked to him and he said to shove it” vs. “We’re trying to reach him, haven’t yet.”

    Seems kinda important to me….

  14. Wonderduck Says:

    Deep Discount has it in hand, waiting for the appropriate ship date? So do the other booksellers, too, then.

    I’m part of the management staff at a bookstore… each Harry Potter VII box is clearly labelled “DO NOT OPEN” until 7/21/07.

    Heck, our Home Office has stated upfront that displaying a copy of the book early will result in termination for the offending employee, not to mention litigation.

    Yeah, they’re very serious about this. Scholastic, the publisher of the HP series, has a lot of power in the book biz, and having their support pulled from your company could cripple a franchise.

    But that’s why there hasn’t been many leaks: too many managers scared for their jobs. I know that if we could, we would have put our HP boxes in the store safe.

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