The Buzz

By Published on .

JUST HOW SERIOUS was Scholastic about the June 21 midnight-plus-one-minute debut date of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"? Very, judging from an e-mail sent to ... librarians. "This is just a friendly reminder about the security surrounding this release," which is the fifth of J.K. Rowling's enormously successful series, reads the missive. "For example, you may think there's no harm in taking one personal copy home with you informally, just to look at or start reading-but you must not do this prior to June 21st, even if the book is in your personal possession at all times.

"Moreover," it continues, "you are not supposed to read the book, or even skim through the contents, prior to that date."

Libraries that violate the restrictions won't get early copies of forthcoming "Harry Potter" titles.

A tad heavy-handed for librarians, who, after all, are not noted for being the most cowboy-like of professionals? Not at all, says a Scholastic spokesman.

"We're just reminding them, in the nicest way possible-verbally and in writing-how important it is [for the book to remain] secure, so that it doesn't get out there," he said, adding "Sometimes you have to be really specific [for all involved] to get the message."

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