Fuse #8

Monday, February 12, 2007

J.L. Bell Does Some Harry Potter Research

As I mentioned before, on Friday night I finally met the infamous J.L. Bell, which was awesome. Seems appropriate then that I should link to his recent research on Harry Potter. On a recent link, Mr. Bell proffered the following query regarding Scholastic's HP marketing techniques:

...the US rights deal occurred and was publicized just as HP1 hit stores in the UK. Those news stories brought unusual attention to this unknown author and her new book. How much, I wonder, did that attention itself influence the first book’s early success? In other words, how much did Scholastic's big gamble on US rights turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

He has some hot-topic thoughts. And regarding that whole single mom story that came out in tandem with the books ...
Why is this significant? Because Harry Potter came out with an aura of magic. Not the physical magic that appears in many other fairy tales for kids. Rather, the financial magic that people dream of when they play the lottery. Harry Potter had made someone rich overnight (or so the articles implied, not noting how slowly money moves in publishing).
I would point out that I loved the books in London long before I heard Rowling's tales. Bell's points are valid, though, when you want to consider how the Harry Potter origin story contributed to the meteoric rise in popularity. Worth checking out in any case.

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