The bookstore was an absolute zoo. There were people sitting in every aisle. I estimate there were 300-400 people just on the ground floor. Out of curiosity sake, I started heading towards the line, and discovered that you actually had to get a wrist-band to get the book. If you'd reserved a copy you got a yellow one; if you hadn't reserved a copy you got an orange one. Of course there were a bunch of people dressed up for all of this, too.
Clearly this was going to take a long time, and I wasn't about to wait. So I hopped in my truck and decided to see if half-priced books happened to be open. Took the scenic route and got there about 1AM. They were closed. On the way there I noticed they had 183 North closed for construction, which reminded me I hadn't driven through there in quite some time, so I figured I'd check it out. Turns out they were putting bridge deck on what I think is the IH45 portion. While I was up there I figured I'd swing by lakeline and see if there was a book store there.
The zoo at that Barnes & Noble was outside the store, or at least part of it was. Maybe it was the petting zoo. A bunch of people sitting on the curb cheered as I drove by. I guess they liked how I manuver my truck through a parking lot.
So, I drive around a while longer, taking a look at the rest of the construction. Got some gas. By now it's about 1:30, so I swung by the lakeline B&N one last time. They were actually closed! Based on the crowd that had been milling about no more than 30 minutes before I was pretty surprised.
Started heading south and figured I'd stop by the arboretum B&N just to see if they were still open. Not only were they still open, it looked like there was probably still 100 people inside! This is almost 2 hours later, mind you.
On a whim, I went inside. Yes, I still needed to get a wristband the lady said. So I got one and wandered towards the line. It was still quite long, so I figured I'd look around for a while and if the line didn't clear up pretty soon I'd just get it from Amazon or something. Wandered around a bit, picked up a couple books (including Chronicles of Narnia) and got in line as they said they were taking all remaining numbers (the wrist bands were numbered and they were calling like 50 numbers at a ti me to get in line). So now I'm about the last person in line. Luckily I wasn't the last, since the woman calling out the numbers (in costume) wanted to take a picture of the last person in line.
The line actually moved really quickly, even though there were probably about 30-50 people in it when I got in. I got to listen to some woman in front of me going on about some Harry Potter game or screen saver or something she got (which apparently includes scenes from the upcomming movie). As I was approaching the counter one of the cashiers yelled out "Who want's boxes?!" (as in the shipping boxes the books were sent in... plain white cardboard boxes) About a half-dozen people went apeshit. You'd think they were giving away passes to watch them film the movie or something.
Anyway, the whole experience was pretty surreal. Granted, it's a very entrancing series of books, but it's just a freaking book! Going bananas over a shipping box? And I'm sure some of these people must have gotten in line hours before midnight, if not when the store opened this morning. Then there's everyone who dressed up to go buy the book. I overheard that the line count was 1,092. And this is just one store! I bet this is as big, if not bigger than opening night of Star Wars.
Anyway, the fanatics can have their dress-up, 2+ hour wait and white cardboard boxes. I was in and out in about 15 minutes and have the same book. Although I declined some wristband or something they were handing out after you paid (something the person handing these things out seemed to have some issue comming to grips with). Though I do have the numbered wristband that entitled you to a book... I should probably eBay it. I figure if people will go crazy over a cardboard box...