I’ve read only a little bit of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, so this is not really about the book. This is actually about *receiving* the book.
For some reason, I remember that Order of the Phoenix was shipped with special FedEx Saturday delivery. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was FedEx’s busiest Saturday ever. What made Amazon’s logistics for this book interesting is that UPS carried the book most of the way, and then *delivered it to a post office*. The postal service then delivered the book with the normal mail on Saturday. That makes a lot more sense, since the postal service always does Saturday deliveries.
It’s hard to imagine the coordination and exchange of money that had to happen for that. (The UPS shipping labels even said “Deliver to USPS” with another section that said “USPS please deliver to”…) But, Amazon almost certainly sold more than 500,000 preorders. With that kind of volume, you can probably get a bit of special handling.
The second thing is that I had noticed that Amazon had dropped their price on the book by $1 since the time when I preordered. I didn’t particularly care, but I was surprised to get an email in which Amazon said they were refunding the $1! That’s great customer service and a great way to make sure that people don’t feel like they’re getting burned for preordering.
Finally, I received an email today (Sunday) from Amazon saying that my book was on time and that I’d receive it by 7PM on Saturday. I’m not sure whose mailserver is at fault for that one.
All-in-all, I’d say it’s nice to be able to place an order online and get it on release day and I’m sure I’ll do the same for book 7.
(Reviews for Half-Blood Prince have been mixed, which is not really surprising. I think that’s been true of all of the books, with the possible exception of the Hugo winning Goblet of Fire.)