In 2007, most information leaks are done through the Web, and what we saw happen a few days ago with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollow was no exception. However, if we go a couple years back, most of these leaks were done physically, and—once again—Harry Potter books followed suit!
On July 4, 2000, just four days before the release of Mrs. Rowling’s fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Washington Post revealed that a young girl of eight was in possession of the yet-to-be-released book (Sorry, the full article isn’t available anymore), and had pictures to prove it. Apparently, a friend of the little girl’s family had stumbled upon it in a local bookstore that wasn’t even supposed to sell it yet.
Now, if we fast-forward to May 5, 2003, two copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were discovered in a field, a few hundred meters from the publishing house in charge of printing the book. Then, in June, just three days before the official release date, thousands of additional copies were stolen from a warehouse located in the northwest part of the U.K. Fortunately, all books were safely discovered a few hours later within a stolen truck. No harm was done.
While this was happening, Mrs. Rowling was taking legal action on the American side of the ocean. She was pressing charges against the New York Daily News, who had gotten their hands on the book and revealed some of its details to their readers. At the same time, a 23 year-old woman from Montreal, QC, Canada got the book from a retail store a few days before it was supposed to appear on shelves.
Finally, in June 2005, a month before the official release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, two men tried to sell stolen copies of the book to several popular newspapers. The story ended when one of the two men fired on a journalist who had agreed to meet the criminals, but had reported them to the police before going to the meeting. Once again, all was well: The books were recovered, the thieves arrested and the journalist was safe from harm.