Nearly 80 percent of Britons have re-read a book, with the Harry Potter series the most likely to be picked up again, a survey revealed on Friday. Some of the books that are re-read for pleasure are classics such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre".
Pity poor JK Rowling... Harry Potter author JK Rowling has accused the publisher of an upcoming reference book on the boy wizard series of infringing her intellectual property rights. Rowling and Warner Bros, the distributor of the films, launched a claim in the Southern District of New York federal court against RDR books over the forthcoming Harry Potter Lexicon book.
I'm not sure where the Rev. Ron Barker of St. Joseph's School in Wakefield, MA has been for the last ten years (in his study?), but apparently he became aware--last month--of the character Harry Potter, and the seven books in which he was the title character. The following report is from Fox News, so read it at your own discretion:
"A Catholic pastor at a Massachusetts parochial school has made all the Harry Potter books there disappear, saying they are spiritually dangerous for children and could encourage them to engage in witchcraft.
The Rev. Ron Barker of St. Joseph's School in Wakefield, Mass., said he stripped the library there of the fantasy series by British author J.K. Rowling in the last month after discovering the novels were among the 10,000 volumes on the shelves.
"This is a parochial school and I have the moral authority to do this," he said in an interview with FOXNews.com. "For some people, reading those books is a vehicle to become involved in the occult. ... My basic premise is for the spiritual protection of the children."
I suppose it's time to slam Harry's creator, as columnist Jeffrey Weiss does in this article from the the Dallas Morning News. "With the greatest of respect, I'd like to say something to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling:
Shut up. Please.
Stop talking about what Ron will do for a living, whom Neville will marry, what kinds of creatures Hagrid will raise.
If you didn't put it in the books, please don't tell us now.
I guess I don't want you to stop explaining completely. I'd love to know more about what inspired some of the plot details in the books. If you want to dish about how you decided on those particular inscriptions for the headstones, how you came up with the names for the characters, or how you cleverly planned the religious underpinnings of the broad arc of the story; I am all ears.
But telling us that Dumbledore is gay, as you did last week? Why would you do that?
As a fan, I can understand both the authorial impulse and the public interest. As a reader, it's making me nuts.
Seated on "an enormous gold throne with plush red cushions," J.K. Rowling opened her brief U.S. tour Monday morning at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, where she read from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, answered a few questions and then signed free copies of her book for 1,600 lucky students.
Check this LA Times story to see how tickets were distributed; video feature and print article.
Scholastic has never been in better financial shape, tip of the hat to J. K. Rowling, Harry et al.
Publishers Weekly reports that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came through for Scholastic in the first quarter ended August 31, helping to drive up revenue 75%, to $586.9 million. Hallows, along with the six previous Potter titles, contributed sales of $240 million in the period, propelling revenue in the children's book publishing and distribution segment to $342.5 million from $112.6 million."
Here's a refrain from an earlier article, with a different spokesperson for The National Endowment for the Arts. Exploring the Harry Potter phenomenon, the NEA finds "that Rowling's wizardry hasn't changed youth reading habits much."
"Even in the era of Harry Potter, the research shows that the numbers of youth reading for pleasure still decrease considerably as they grow older," reports Inside Bay Area.
"Regardless of the Harry Potter phenomenon, these declines do exist," said Sunil Iyengar, director of research and analysis for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.
How do you get 12 million books to appear all at once? Well, it could be magic (!), or it could be a major coordinated effort from publishers, printers, binderies, packers, trucking and transport companies. Here's the story from Business Week about how U.S. publisher Scholastic managed the magic of distributing HP7 to thousands of retailers around the U.S.
...from MSN J. K. Rowling explains the finer points of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Draco, Neville, Snape and more are covered.
The tangled web of Harry Potter, author J.K. Rowling, Harry's British & US publishers, on-line bookstores (Amazon), bookstore chains (Barnes & Noble, Borders), non-bookstore chains (Wal-Mart, Costco), independent bookstores and all those Harry Potter fans/readers is examined in Saturday's New York Times.