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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

First Ukrainian edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone appears in print

23 April, 2002 - 00:00

The April 14 action of A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA Publishers dedicated to publishing first Ukrainian edition of the Harry Potter bestseller gained scale and response perhaps even its organizers did not count on.

A lucky idea, without doubt, lays the foundation for a success. The idea to start selling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at midnight on April 13 at Mystetstvo [Arts] Central Bookstore on Khreshchatyk worked perfectly. By the appointed time an impressive crowd of Potter lovers gathered at the doors of the bookstore. In spite of a late hour, there were no fewer children than adults present. On this occasion, the bookstore even changed its address and displayed a signboard reading, Privet Drive 4, the address of Harry Potter’s relatives’ house. The presentation designed according to the laws of a fairy show was hosted by Ivan Malkovych, director of A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA, along with residents of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, giant Rubeus Hagrid and Harry Potter himself, played by a rather artistic young man wearing glasses, who later signed books for all comers. There were also Hogwarts faculty members: Professors Dumbledore and Macgonagall, both walking on stilts. However, major hero Harry Potter was proclaimed a little boy from Ivano-Frankivsk, winner of a look-alike contest, who seemed to be slightly dizzy at his good luck. Even popular television host Ihor Slisarenko, who announced the winner’s name, was sporting a Potter-style costume.

The end of the show was the beginning of sales of the first book in Joanne Rowling series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone . Probably for the first time in its history Mystetstvo worked at such a late hour, not to mention the number of its visitors. In one hour of night’s sales over a thousand copies of the book were sold; unfortunately, this is usually a decent annual sale for a Ukrainian book.

As for the book itself, A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA is true to itself, doing its work thoroughly. The front cover (incidentally, the publishing house came through a regular war with Warner Brothers Studio for its original layout) was designed by Vladyslav Yerko together with Viktor Baryba, in a technique peculiar to this artist, combining vivid color and precise shading. Viktor Morozov, renowned singer, poet, and musician, did the Ukrainian translation. Obviously, a top team of the publishers’ best forces was involved in the project. Thus, thirteen could turn out to be a lucky number for not only A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA but also the Ukrainian book market as a whole. For the first time our book publishers have implemented a competent and aggressive strategy of winning their audience, and the latter responded immediately. It is comforting to see such popular demand for a domestically produced book.

Certainly, it would be presumptuous to believe that the little wizard wearing round glasses will open a fairy-tale season for Ukrainian book publishing. However, the first move in the game national culture had been constantly losing so far was made, a move both accurate and successful.

By Dmytro DESIATERYK, The Day