Friday, August 10, 2007

All bets are off

I'm sure my bookselling colleagues enjoyed selling the 'last' Harry Potter book back in July. Perhaps some of you have now had a chance to finish the book for yourselves. If we should worry for the poor booksellers who didn't make any money out of it all (what were we thinking to stock such an unprofitable line?) , then perhaps we should spare a thought for the poor bookmakers too. London bookmaker William Hill took a number of bets on how Harry Potter's fate would be resolved at the end of the seven-volume saga. When the book was published, three William Hill staffers were quickly despatched to read the book and determine the outcome of the wager. Sadly, they couldn't agree on whether Potter died or not.

'It was a fairly ambiguous ending, open to various interpretations, and so whatever way we settled the bets would have annoyed some people,' Rupert Adams, a William Hill spokesman, is quoted as saying by Bloomberg. 'So we paid out on all the bets.' The bookmaker paid out some $216,000 on the wager, its first on a book ending. If you're an interested punter, William Hill is already taking bets on there being an eighth HP book.

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