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Anderson's Bookshop manager Kris Nugent remembers the second Rowling visit that occurred for her third book, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." "She taught us how to handle large crowds, this was really the first big event we'd encountered at the bookshop," said Nugent.
"We all felt so bad for her because she was wearing a hand brace and would stop to ice her hand every so often," said Keables.
"Jo Rowling was so gracious and kind to everyone, my 4 year old daughter Elspeth was wearing round glasses at the time and Jo said to her, "Those would be perfect for Harry. My daughter still has the glasses to this day," said Keables.
"All of the Anderson's employees took their own children out of school for the event. We also invited NCSD 203 Project IDEA Plus students to attend. There were about 80 people total," recalled Keables. Too bad I didn't run to Anderson's and buy my own first edition book.
Rowling Turns Naperville into Gold
bookshelf for Harry Potter first editions and you know what? I found two on my bookshelf. Both books are UK editions from when I was visiting London the day of their release. Of course, these are not in the thousands of dollars but they're worth at least $50 a piece.
"I remember a couple of college kids were first in line at 4:00 am. If you weren't there by 7:00 am you would not receive a signed copy," said Keables.
When asked if Rowling dined at any of our Naperville restaurants Keables told me that she ate pizza at Lou Malnati's and that she sat across the table from her.
The "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" book tour was the last one for Rowling, as she hasn't toured since that time according to Anderson staff, partly due to health concerns of her hand.
Rowling was unknown in the states but an instant hit in the UK. Advance reading copies were given to bookstores and the Anderson's Bookshop staff was smitten from the start.
Rowling stopped in Naperville in 1998 for a book talk and signing of her first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
Harry Potter releases and the final one included partnering with the city of Naperville Chamber of Commerce. Naperville streets were filled with costumed Harry Potter fans as over 2,500 attended the event.
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"Here at Anderson's we have Jill Brooks to thank for getting her here," Erin Keables, a longtime employee, told me during a recent conversation at the bookshop. "She basically lobbied for Rowling until they couldn't say no.
The event was held in Naperville Central High School's cafeteria around 10:00 am. Rowling, a literary star at this point was under a strict time limit. She was allowed to sign only 1,100 copies in 2 Under Armour Micro G Engage Women's hours.
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