Serious Black Ink

It's about time!

At the stroke of midnight in the dark morning of Saturday, July 16, cash registers all over the world will be singing "ca-ching, ca-ching" for bookstore owners when the sixth tome in J.K. Rowling's super-successful Harry Potter series makes its debut. Expectations for the latest installation, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, are higher than ever. Scholastic Inc., the American publisher of Rowling's magical series, has announced a first printing of 10.8 million. The myriad preorders placed through Amazon.com have already made the book a best seller. But rather than have your copy delivered to your front door, embrace the phenomenon. Strap on your broomstick and proudly draw a lightning bolt on your forehead. Local bookstores are brewing up a cauldron of events that will delight muggles of all ages.

Come out to the Barnes & Noble stores in Kendall (7710 N. Kendall Dr.; 305-598-7292) and Aventura (18711 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-935-9770), at 11:00 p.m. Friday, July 15, for games and door prizes. At the Borders stores in southern Miami (9205 S. Dixie Hwy.; 305-665-8800) and North Miami (11401 NW Twelfth St.; 305-597-8866), you can expect costumed clerks and Harry Potter-inspired refreshments, like butter beer and chocolate frogs.

The Books & Books chain is hosting a Harry Potter bonanza all its own. The countdown to midnight will begin Friday, July 15, at 9:00 p.m., and both the Coral Gables (265 Aragon Ave.; 305-442-4408) and South Beach (933 Lincoln Rd.; 305-532-3222) stores will be aflutter with magic fever. Enjoy live music while you join in wacky wizard activities and play the Harry Potter trivia game. Sport the witchiest getup for the Character Costume Contest and you can score a weekend getaway for a family of four at the Biltmore Hotel, passes to the Miami Seaquarium, and free ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, among other fun prizes.


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