Sunday, September 02, 2007


None of my readers thought the gentleman who received his copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before its official release date was obligated to send it back. Here's what some thought:
"He should have just kept the book, but not read it or said anything about it to anyone, until the official release date," writes Laura Blumberg of Santa Ana, Calif.

Tilly Alldredge of Laguna Niguel, Calif., and Mary Jan Rosenak of Madison, Wis., thought it was fine for him to read the book, but not to divulge the ending. "Don't spoil it for others," Rosenak writes.

"If he sent it back to the seller, they'd probably think he's just an idiot," writes Burl Estes of Mission Viejo, Calif. "I was more disturbed by the fact that individuals who received the copies early sold them on eBay for hundreds of dollars," writes Dorothy Pittman, owner of a bookstore in Carrollton, Ga. (Horton's Books and Gifts - Home) She was particularly disturbed about the gentleman who sold an early copy to Publishers Weekly. (EBay Pulls Harry Potter 7 Listing--Hours After Sale Was Completed ...) "That action alone speaks volumes about the current ethical climate."

Check out other opinions at SOUND OFF: PREMATURE MAGIC, or post your own here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2007 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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