Potter Sales Top 8 Million Despite Leaks

July 23, 2007 05:41 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Internet leaks, early reviews, and advance shipments abound the week before Harry Potter's much anticipated departure, but despite the fanfare and 12 million-copy print run the franchise's business partners have found it difficult to turn large profits.

30 Second Summary

J.K. Rowling's final volume in the Harry Potter saga was released at 12:01 a.m. on July 21, and sold a record-setting 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours in the U.S.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" enjoyed heavy media coverage in the week before its release. Stories on leaked copies of the book, dizzying sales figures, and surprisingly low profits for booksellers contributed to the Potter furor.

Days before the release, what appeared to be leaked excerpts of the book surfaced all over the Internet in the form of digitally photographed pages and spoiler Web sites. In one instance, lucky customers got to preview the book when a distributor shipped 1,200 official copies early, and Rowling openly criticized advance book reviews appearing in two American newspapers.

However, the disclosures didn’t diminish expectations: the first print run consisted of an unheard of 12 million copies.
Despite the Potter series' staggering sales figures––325 million copies have been sold since Harry debuted in 1997––publishers and retailers aren't necessarily sharing in the success.

Independent booksellers struggle to compete with chain store price wars. Also, analysts say Scholastic, the U.S. publisher, has neglected key aspects of its business by concentrating on the Potter franchise.

But as fans and the book industry look to the Potter-less future, the search is on for the next character that can endear readers as absolutely as has Rowling's wizardly orphan.


Internet leaks of Rowling's closely guarded Potter conclusion spread rapidly across the Web, sparking dismay from the author, publishers, and fans. Coming in the form of files containing 700-plus digitally photographed pages, the purported leaks have cropped up on many of the most popular file-sharing Web sites.



There were only three reviews of the final Potter book published in North America before the book's release. The first appeared in Toronto's Globe and Mail on July 18. The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun published the other two on July 19, provoking an indignant response from Rowling.

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