By LIZ HARRELSON
and CLAIRE ST. JOHN
Harry Potter has left the buildings.
Area bookstore owners, who thought they were prepared for the onslaught of starved Harry Potter fans, found themselves empty-handed less than a day after selling commenced.
Just 12 hours after "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" went on sale, Tuolumne and Calaveras county bookstores were sold out.
"It's been unbelievable," said Nicole Haskayne, a bookseller at Mountain Bookshop in Sonora. "It's been hard to turn people away."
Of the 300 books ordered for that store, all were sold before noon Saturday. This beat previous Potter sellouts by three hours, Haskayne said.
"I'm amazed still," said Susan Shoaff, owner of Sasha's Reading Room in Murphys last week. "Three years ago, I thought this was big, and now it's much bigger. I've got twice the amount of people on the list of preorders."
Shoaff had 25 books ordered in advance of the Saturday sale.
"It just doesn't die down. The diehards don't die down in numbers," she said.
Shoaff, who earlier last week said her order of 70 books would be too much, was reconsidering Friday.
"These aren't going to last the day," she said.
Chain outlets, like Wal-Mart, also sold out of books on the first day.
Of the three shipments Saturday, said Kay Taliaferro, a sales associate at the Sonora Wal-Mart, all were sold out before noon.
The books had been on sale since 6 a.m.
More shipments are supposed to arrive this week.
Some stores chose to open as soon as possible.
For these, the frenzy began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, when diehard Potter fans braved the dark to buy copies at the Mountain Bookshop in Sonora and Murphys Bookstore in Murphys.
The stores, originally worried about an anemic late-night turnout for the release, had ample customer support.