Khalik, Abdul. "Potter's latest installment creates hysteria among fans," Jakarta Post, 12 January 2004

A strange sight was to be seen in Jakarta from Saturday midnight into the early hours of Sunday morning: dozens of cars packed with adults and children chasing three blue vans along Jl. Sudirman and other streets in the capital.

Whenever the three vans stopped, people formed long queues to buy what seemed almost more precious than gold dust -- first editions of the latest title in the "Harry Potter" series to be translated into Indonesian. "We have been here since 10 p.m. because we know this is the first stop for the convoy," said Kaban from Tangerang, one of the crowd waiting near the Dharmala building.

The Gramedia publishing house has translated all five titles in the series by J.K. Rowling, the latest being Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. "My sons are afraid that the stocks will run out as I heard they will sell only sell 300 copies on the streets," said Kaban, 55. The series, with almost 1,200 pages in the last title alone, has been commended by adults for encouraging children -- as well as grownups -- to read at a time when it is rare for Indonesian adults to read anything more demanding than comics or newspapers.

The long convoy, which started in the Palmerah area, then headed to Kwitang before it stopped at Sarinah, all in Central Jakarta. A woman looked out anxiously as her car pulled up behind the parked blue vans, with all three children in the car gazing out with anxious stares. "Each of my three children has to have a copy because otherwise they would start fighting," she said. She later expressed relief that she was able to get three copies in Sarinah.

Also at Sarinah, a young man, Vino, said he, his sister and their friends had followed the convoy from Palmerah. "We're having a lot of fun. It's just like what we saw on TV when the English version was launched abroad in June. I going to read this book without stop for three days, and forget about my video games for a while," said Vino, who had come all the way from Bekasi.

Five students said they all had the other four titles. "Harry is so cute, and the series is so different from any other sort of fiction. We use many of the words from the series when we're talking every day," one said.

After Sarinah, the convoy wound its magical way on to South Jakarta. Robby Chandra, an children's observer, said kids today were bored with so much entertainment at their fingertips, must of which lacked any kind of "spiritual dimension". "Rowling offers what this generation needs, including the use of many new and interesting words. She creatively chooses funny but real, Latin- rooted words," said Robby.

Later on Sunday, the Gramedia bookstore in Matraman, Central Jakarta, said it had sold 1,000 out of its stock of 7,500 copies. Marketing head of PT Gramedia's fiction section, V. Tuwadi, said early on Sunday that all 300 first editions had been sold on the streets. The first 150,000 copies had been sold out before they were published, he said, as fans had earlier placed orders, accompanied with down payments, at bookstores.

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