Thanks to the exposure that the Nepali society has gotten over the last decade and the new trend of marketing the books via glittering advertisement campaign, writers becoming celebrity is becoming a mainstream in Nepali society.
“It’s sad that even after the arrival of the seventh book,” wrote a disgruntled reader from Dolakha in Kantipur after the newspaper published an article about Harry Potter phenomena in the last week of July, “[Not a single] Harry Potter book has been translated into Nepali.”
It’s almost certain that many people will continue to remain sad in the foreseeable future because, despite the entire hype surrounding Potter brand in Nepal, the books will not come in Nepali anytime soon. There is not enough market for that and Potter is all about market. But the lack of translation isn’t stopping many Nepali book lovers to get the pleasure offered by the series.
With the arrival of Potter books, especially the latest and last one, the Nepali book world has turned an important page. People calling a book store to book a copy of a certain book before it gets published or stand in queue to get hold of it or wait for several minutes to receive an autograph from the writer is something that wasn’t in practice until a few years ago. Thanks to the exposure that the Nepali society has gotten over the last decade, thanks to the new trend of marketing the books via glittering advertisement campaign and a big thanks to writers like Samrat Upadhyay, Manjushree Thapa and Narayan Wagle, writers becoming celebrity is becoming a mainstream in Nepali society. Therefore it was really not a big surprise when Educational Book House (EBH), a book store in downtown Kathmandu, said that it had received around 120 orders from curious readers of the book that’s priced at Rs. 1560 a copy.
“It’s a recent development,” said Raman Raut, a staff at the EBH who started working for the book store six years ago. “We started booking since the sixth book [that came in July 2005]. Very few came when fourth book was released. And even I was unaware about this Harry Potter thing before that.” For the Deathly Hallows, as many as 85 people had paid Rs. 100 each two months prior to the book’s official release date. A formal program to launch the book was scheduled to begin at 3 PM on Saturday, 21 July. A crowd of dozens had gathered in the book store. The flight got delayed by two hours and Raman was struggling to calm down the restless Potter fans. “They were in queue and started shouting,” he said. “Then I rushed to the airport and finally brought back the book at 5 PM.” Renowned dramatist and Professor Abhi Subedi launched the book amid clapping ceremony that also saw jubilant fans eating cake that had a picture of their favorite character embedded. The store sold 95 copies within a couple of hours, and another 90 the next day. Other book stores like United Book House, Pilgrims and Mandala Book Point were also selling the books. Aggregate figures collected from different sources put the total sales of Deathly Hallows to 700 copies in the first week of publication in Nepal. And some stores are out of stock and the number of willing buyers is increasing. Continue reading