Will Harry Potter redesign revive flagging book sales?
Over in jolly olde England things are not so jolly for Bloomsbury, the U.K. publisher of the Harry Potter books. It seems that J.K. Rowling, unlike Stephenie Meyer, is producing no surprise novellas to satisfy fans or rescue gasping booksellers. Instead, Bloomsbury is reissuing the seven novels with new covers.
If that seems a desperate bit of business, consider that Bloomsbury’s profits, in the absence of a new Potter book, were down 35 percent last year, reports the Guardian. Rowling wrapped up the seven-volume series, possibly the most popular literary project in history, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007).
But the gambit makes sense when you consider all the new Young Adult readers who weren’t around for the first bout of Pottermania. Nigel Newton (don’t you love the British?!), Bloomsbury CEO, tells the London Telegraph that a new crop of 700,000 kids hits the Harry Potter demographic each year.
No word yet on whether Scholastic, Rowling’s American publisher will follow suit, but don’t be surprised if it does. By the way, the U.K. and American covers were always different — as indeed were the texts, with many Britishisms softened for tender American ears, beginning with the title of the very first book.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for Americans, apparently deemed too dim to know what the “philosopher’s stone” is. This still gets my knickers in a knot.
Ahem. Back to the news at hand. A site called Snitchseeker.com has images it claims are the new Potter covers, and they look quite sophisticated, dignified and suggestive of the YA fantasy adventure inside, very different from the more whimsical and direct original U.K. covers.
Will they appeal to newly minted 10-12 year olds? Maybe. But I’ll bet they sell a fair number to collectors and existing fans who can’t abide the knowledge there’s some new Potter thing they don’t yet possess.
In other Potter news: Universal Orlando released a video this week, reports USA Today, touting its new Potter ride, due to open June 18. The video features Daniel Radcliffe, the movie Harry, who says, “The ride is essentially a condensed form of the chaos of Harry’s life.” Yay. Right?
Here’s another fawning story about the Universal ride (“A ‘Game Changer’ Creators Say!”) from MTV News.
Umm…lessee…Harry Potter, Harry Potter — Ah! Here it is: While Scholastic reveals no plans for new book covers, it has unveiled a newly designed Potter website. Consisting primarily of quizzes and games, it underwhelms me, but then I am a Muggle. And somewhat outside the target demographic.
And I know this first came out last June, before the release of the most recent movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I came across it researching this blog and it’s too sweet to ignore: Emma Watson, the movie ‘Hermione,’ says she may give up acting after the final Potter movie debuts in 2011.
Is it to much to hope she means it? If so, could she pleasepleaseplease talk to Kristen Stewart about a similar promise at the end of the ‘Twilight’ movies?
Okay, okay, I’m just being mean now — bygones! Meanwhile, please write back to tell me how rude I am, and whether you like the new Potter jackets or not. Or maybe you’re sitting there thinking, “Harry who?”