In its first 24 hours, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final installment in the wildly popular series by J. K. Rowling that officially went on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 21, 2007, sold 8.3 million copies in the United States, according to Scholastic, the publisher. The book’s official cover price is $34.99, but it has been selling mostly around an average price of $20.
A total of 2,652,656 copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” sold in the UK on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the world, other record-breaking numbers were reported, including a 100,000 first day volume in India.
I had pre-ordered the book from Amazon at $17.99, and it arrived at my doorstep on Saturday afternoon. I came back from San Francisco around 7 PM. I devoured it over the next 27 hours (minus meals and sleep), all 752 pages of it, and put it down at 10pm on Sunday night. Yes, I am a fast reader, but even I have not paid this kind of tribute to many authors or books before.
We have been discussing the book business lately, so you know that authors typically get 10-20% of the retail price of a book. Considering Rowling’s popularity, she most certainly gets at least 20%, if not more. That means, by the end of this week, Ms. Rowling, already a Billionaire, will have made at least an extra $100 Million. Over the next month, a lot more.
And in my opinion, J. K. Rowling deserves every last penny of it.
To all my readers I say this, that if you have not read Harry Potter, or have dismissed it as some silly children’s lit, read the books. All seven of them. It is a journey into an alternate universe where you will encounter unbelievable creativity. It will open your mind. It will fill you with joy and lightness. It will flush your system of stress.