Speaking of Harry Potter, I worked at Banes & Ignoble for the releases of the fourth and fifth books. What was it like? Think "madhouse," but with more whiny brats. And I'm talking about the parents, not the kids. We had several flavors of crazy, but there were two in particular that really baked my noodle.
The first were the people who wanted the book before the official release. Yes, we did get the book prior to the official release, only by a matter of days. However, the boxes were wrapped in tape with large, all-caps, bold-print warnings and probably a few hexes forbidding anyone from opening them before the book was released. They got opened about fifteen minutes before midnight, and that was just so we could organize the chaos of getting them into customers' hands. BUT, some people knew we would have the books up to two days before the release. And they would beg, cajole and threaten to get one. "Juuust ooonnne, what can it hurt?" Um, let's see--if word got out, Scholastic would get royally peeved with B&I Corporate, which would come down on our little store like a ton of bricks, which would in turn cause the store manager to go through our computer records to find out who sold the thing, which would lead to the summary firing of that person in the hopes of appeasing the gods of Scholastic, one of the biggest publishers/distributors of children's books in America and thus fairly high on the list of Those Whom B&I Does Not, Under Any Circumstances, Wish To P*ss Off. So, um, no.
The second were those people who didn't bother to reserve books for themselves, and when they turned up at the store Saturday afternoon, discovered we had no books to sell them. "But the Other B-store and the Big Independent Bookstore and the Little Shopping Mall Bookstores are all out, too! What am I supposed to tell my kid?" Tell 'em we'll get a new shipment next week, sorry. Then they'd ask for one of the reserved copies. No, people had 48 hours to pick their reserved copies up, so check back Monday to see who got lazy. But we have. no. copies. to. sell. right. now.