Utah bookstore knew Harry Potter was magic from the start

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Anne Holman, manager at The King’s English Bookstore, keeps her boxes of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” under wraps in 2007. The King’s English was one of the first bookstores in Utah to sell the Harry Potter books, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the U.K. publication of the first book in the series on June 26.

The King’s English Bookshop was early to the Harry Potter craze. Early, at least, for an independent bookstore 5,000 miles away from J.K. Rowling’s home base.

“I remember very clearly the beginning of it,” said Margaret Neville, manager of the store’s children’s room. “At that time the current children’s buyer had made several trips to England and she had come home with the first two books. But we still couldn’t get them here.”

Although “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was published in the U.K. on June 26, 1997, it didn’t reach the United States until September 1998, where it was published as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by Scholastic Corporation. By the time the U.S. got a hold of the book series, Rowling had already published two books and some of the first novel’s British slang had been translated to better appeal to an American audience.

The King’s English Bookshop employees were thrilled to bring the budding series to their readers.

“I really think right from the get-go there were certainly people asking for them in our store,” Neville said. “We loved them. … It was really a lot of fun. And then (the series) built up steam. It just…

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