Sun, 13 Jul 2003

Harry Potter's magic

Very few commercial successes, especially of foreign entertainment products, are applauded as wholeheartedly as the sales of Harry Potter have been. The fact that JK Rowling is getting incredibly rich is lot less important than the fact she is making children here excited about reading.

"Before Harry Potter most Indonesian children usually only read Japanese comics, and if they did read children's novels they were mostly short novels and never thick ones like this one," said Listiana Srisanti, Harry Potter translator and editorial and production manager for fiction at Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

The impact of the Harry Potter novels is highlighted by their incredible sales. The first printing of the first two novels grew from 15,000 to 30,000, and then increased from 80,000 to 100,000 copies for the third and fourth novels. One hundred and forty thousand copies of the fourth book have been printed and all four copies have sold at least 100,000 copies.

To get an idea of the scale of this success, Gramedia Pustaka Utama's next bestseller among children's books is the Princess Diaries series, of which 20,000 have been printed. The average print run for children's books is between 3,000 and 5,000.

The size of the first printing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has not yet been decided by Gramedia Pustaka Utama but based on the anticipation of its publication, Rowling and Listiana will continue to reach and entertain record setting numbers of readers.

-- Jock Paul