Book Hunting Adventure: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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The story of how I found my first edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling at Henry Pordes on Charing Cross Road, London!

After successfully finding the third, fifth, and seventh books under Waterloo Bridge (read that adventure here) I only needed a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to complete my UK Childrens' Edition set. I was determined to find it later that day when we went to Charing Cross Road, even if I had to go into every single book shop, which is exactly what I did. I went into each shop and looked around. If their children's book section was not easily found I'd ask if they had copies of Harry Potter.

A quick photo of me on Cecil Ct!
Most didn't have any and those that did, none of them were HBP. In the third or fourth shop, Henry Pordes, I found a copy fairly quickly at the bottom of a pile. It was a nice shop with multiple rooms and high shelves. However, this shop wanted £20 for the first edition. Normally, I would fork that out no problem, but since I had just hours before bought two first editions and one early edition all for only £5 more I was leery to spend so much. I figured I would check out other shops and if I couldn't find a cheaper one I'd come back. I tried several more after that. I found one in a set of firsts that the owner wanted a few thousand quid for the set which obviously wasn't for me.

The last shop I went to was Marchpane, a shop devoted to children's books, down Cecil Ct. I was excited because I saw a copy in the window. I walked in and was immediately alarmed by the union jack covered Dalek that stood near the door. It set the tone of the room better than anything else could. It consisted of one tiny room packed with books. There was a man behind a desk that was on a risen platform. He was grunting at a couple who were asking the prices of some Alice in Wonderland books that lined his platform thing. He seemed so annoyed with them when he said they ranged from £5 to several thousand that I didn't ask any questions at first. I noticed their Harry Potter books were on the left wall behind a cart of other books. I became a contortionist to carefully extract them from their shelves to look at them. I was alarmed at the prices I saw on those covers. Several hundred pounds and they weren't even firsts!
The Dalek
By this time the couple had left and I asked Mr. Grumpypuss about the book in the window. He said he would gladly sell it to me for £800. My jaw hit the floor. I said back, “Wow, ok. I hope you sell it to some inexperience collector some day!” I planned to leave immediately, but plucked up the courage to ask to take a picture of the Dalek (who knew when I would see another terrifying alien again?).

Needless to say, once I left I told my mom to hang about in Cecil Ct. for a bit because I was going to run back to Henry Pordes and buy that extremely reasonable £20 copy of Half-Blood Prince and thus completed my UK Childrens Collection.