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Books: Move over, Harry
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series is the big thing in kid's lit
Robin Wheeler poses with Stephenie Meyer books and merchandise

More than 600 Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, including the one in Savannah, will remain open past midnight on Aug. 1 to sell copies of best-selling author Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn.

If you haven’t heard of Meyer, you’re not alone. But to her fans, mostly teen and pre-teen girls, she’s already a legend in her own time.

Meyer’s only been writing books for the past five years, but every one of the 500-page tomes she’s produced has been a No. 1 best seller. Her first books, Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse, are part of the Twilight Series, which will conclude with Breaking Dawn.

They tell the story of Bella, a young girl who finds her soul mate in Edward, a vampire. As with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, adults have discovered the series and started snapping up the books for themselves.

Now, Meyer has cracked the adult fiction market with The Host, a science-fiction novel. Her book Twilight has been made into a movie that will be released Dec. 12, and there are literally hundreds of fan clubs dedicated to Meyer. Do a Google search on “Stephenie Meyer” and you’ll find that nearly 3 million sites come up.

Barnes & Noble will celebrate the latest book’s release with a party Aug. 1 beginning at 7 p.m, at the store. At the stroke of midnight, sale of the books will begin.

Connect recently caught up with Barnes & Noble’s Community Relations Manager Robin Wheeler to find out what all the excitement is about, and about the party that will be held for the book’s release.

What is the Stephenie Meyer phenomenon?

Robin Wheeler: Teen and juvenile fiction is our top-selling category. Stephenie Meyer has taken the country by storm. Middle-aged and older adults who have time to read aren’t going to focus on something that’s targeted to teens. But her cult following is huge. She must have 500 fan clubs. When I started getting involved and digging deeper, I could see she really is the real deal. But if I had not worked for Barnes & Noble, I wouldn’t know Stephenie Meyer even now.

Is this like the Harry Potter blitz?

Robin Wheeler: It’s kind of similar to Harry Potter, except it’s targeted to teen girls. It’s very much in the company of Harry Potter when you look at how many of her books have been sold.

What will happen Aug. 1?

Robin Wheeler: We’re going to have a T-shirt contest, and we’ll be giving T-shirts to the winners. We’re encouraging girls to come up with their own ideas. There also will be trivia contests. We’ll have a drawing and are going to give away copies of the book to our winners.

Are midnight parties for book releases common?

Robin Wheeler: I can’t remember any other we’ve done, other than Harry Potter. We’ve done a lot of promotions. We’ll do something during the day for the next book in the Eragon series, and Paula Deen’s cookbooks always are big drawers and sellers.

When did you first become aware of the Twilight series?

Robin Wheeler: I’ve been at Barnes & Noble for six months now. During my first week, I was on the floor a lot. We have a big display of her books. People were buying them and I kept seeing them, and finally decided to try them. When I read the first book, I was hooked.

I would think something like this would be quite a boon to the publishing and book-selling industries.

Robin Wheeler: With a slow economy and summer vacation, we’re really excited about it. We’ve got a sluggish economy, and there are so many things people are complaining about. That we can focus on something like this is a bit of fresh air, something that causes excitement. It’s good for education, too. Barnes & Noble works with the schools to bridge the gap between illiteracy and education. When we go into schools and talk about Stephenie Meyer, it’s like a light bulb goes off in the girls’ heads. It’s a good tool to work with and it also bridges the gap between parents and teenagers.

Have people already ordered advance copies of Breaking Dawn?

Robin Wheeler: There have been a lot of pre-orders, phone calls and questions from frenzied fans. Every one of our female booksellers know who Stephenie Meyer is. That really helps when girls call and have questions.

The pundits say reading and books are dead. Is that true?

Robin Wheeler: Not at all. Literature is very relevant, whether you’re talking about Shakespeare or Fahrenheit 451.

Breaking Dawn Party

The fourth and final book in Stephenie Meyer's bestselling Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, will be released at midnight. A party will be held to celebrate the release, with trivia contests and other activities leading up to midnight.

When: Aug. 1 beginning at 7 p.m. Sales of the book will begin at midnight.

Where: Barnes & Noble, Oglethorpe Mall, 7804 Abercorn St.

Cost: Free.

Info: 353-7757.