The publisher of the new Harry Potter novel has strict rules for libraries handling the book this summer.
Among them: Libraries must limit the number of employees who handle the books before the July 21 release and provide names and contact information for each branch manager, according to the contract from Scholastic Inc.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the final book in J.K. Rowling's popular series about the boy wizard.
In Utah, Davis County Library director Pete Giacoma got a contract on March 28 and shared it with county commissioners. "I think we better ratify," Commissioner Bret Millburn said. "I think we'd get a spell cast on us."
The contract says failure to keep "Deathly Hallows" under wraps until July 21 could get libraries scratched from future embargoed titles. "We acknowledge and agree that any such violation will cause irreparable harm to Scholastic and the author, J.K. Rowling, and that monetary damages will be inadequate to compensate for violations," the contract states.
Despite the "weighty, ominous" language, Giacoma said he takes the contract seriously, although it may be part of the marketing strategy. "It adds to the mystique," he said.
The rules are required to honor Rowling's wishes of preserving a "magical moment" for children, Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good said.
"When you have a print run of 12 million books that you're sending out into the world, just in the U.S. alone, and you do want to preserve a very special moment for children, you take whatever precautions you need," she said.