J.K. Rowling’s Books See a Decline in Sales in June

The publishing world saw an increase in sales for the first six months compared to 2019. That trend did not apply fo J. K. Rowling and her books.

Rowling’s controversial remarks about transgender identity have made fans of her books rebuke her work. During the month of June, Rowling’s print sales rose in the U.S. by 10.9%. That includes the Harry Potter books and other works by the author. That is a giant contrast to the 31.4% increase by print books in fiction in June.

J.K Rowling reading a Harry Potter Book
J.K Rowling reading a Harry Potter Book

That might not seem bad but when you look at 2019, Rowling suffered a big decline. Print books in June 2019 rose 33.3% while Rowling’s books rose 35.2% during the same time. That data shows how fans are distancing themselves from Rowling’s works since her remarks about transgenders.

Kristen McLean, analyst and executive director of business development at the NPD Group believes Rowling is underperforming compared to the rest of the market “comparatively, by two thirds.”

“Looking at [Rowling’s] performance against the rest of the market, especially as benchmarked against her performance in 2019 — which was very consistent with the rest of the market — I think she’s down,”

Before June, Rowling’s book were up 26.5% compared to the first six months in 2019. Now, that trend may disappear. The controversy surrounding Rowling went viral and she has been even been rebuked by her movie star Harry Potter aka Daniel Radcliffe.

The decline in sales could have cost as much as $2 million. The Harry Potter books have been everywhere since the 2000’s but that may not be the case. Even Rowling’s upcoming movies will likely see a decrease in sales as a result.

Will you still be reading the Harry Potter books as the world starts to shun them? And should we treat the books separate from Rowling or do they all suffer the same fate?

2 thoughts on “J.K. Rowling’s Books See a Decline in Sales in June

  1. Anonymous says:

    A couple of observations.
    1. People have the right to buy what they like and not buy what they don’t. That is somthing authors have to contend with.
    2. That some demographic has latched on to a “theory” that has popped out of nowhere and may or may not be well founded is not an indication that either the theory is scientifically or rationally efficacious and generally a debate, hopefully involving people who know what they are talking about should ensue after which society may reach some sort of consensus. The fact that in the west a small group of people (surprisingly many of them younger) has acquired the right to shame or silence anyone who might disagree i quite frankly sickening and frightening. We are back to village torch parades and witch burning seemingly. And no the people doing the harm are not aware that they are doing the harm generally (the problem with fanatics and shallow people throughout history.) Rowling’s view though it is by no means a minority view at present is not wrong but it will take debate an dicussion for us as a society to consider a redefinition of sex and gender. Nor is it entirely the place of a few experts (who are by no means unanimous) to force a viewpoint on society.
    3. I think Rowling is rich enough and retains enough fans that it is fairly difficult for intellectually shallow fanaticism to “cancel” her. The problem is generally with people who are in a less advantageous or powerful position.
    4. The point I am making about stupidity is not about whether Trans Activists are right or wrong. They may ultimately be right. Almost certainly not about everything. That is not how it works generally. But they may hav a number of valid points. By trying to cancel those who in good conscience disagree and trying to force an unwilling redefinition of sex and gender that goes far beyond how we could as a society treat trans people more equitably, they do the trans communities a great harm in the long run. When people tire of the topic (and attention spans among activists and their followers are notoriously short) the pendulum will swing back, and without there having been a constructive dialogue with those who do not agree the result may be worse than trans people deserve and an opportunity to get it right will have been squandered leaving society divided for another couple of generations by anther petty hatred.
    5. These people (the activist and allies rather than trans people themselves) are making what could have been a very smooth transition into a better way of thinking a very bad one likely to fail. I am particularly disgusted by the actors. It rather stinks of fascism. We don’t try to reform people, we destroy them and those aroud them. I have no sympathy for such people. I wonder if Radcliffe and the others comprehend how many people won’t watch their movies any more – I won’t avoid him – I find that attitude childish – but the drop in book sales is probably not the only relevant thing you should have researched for this article. Rowling made some of these people and apparently cared about them. How shallow, ungrateful, and uncaring the etertainment industry can be at times. What Radcliffe particularly should have done was at least go and talk with her, reason with her try to understand her views, find common ground, and then tried to get her to see what his views and the views of others on the matter were. Instead he took the cowards way and caved. If someone is engaged in a movement and the harm being doine by one side is unambiguous and entirely intentionally (think slavery) it is possible that no amount of remonstration will get the other side to see reason. We had to fight a war to stop it. But 99% of social progress issues are neither so cut and dried OR so immediate or extreme in the harm caused. In such cases the net harm of coercive attempts to change thinking are always larger than the harm sought to be prevented. And backlashes are common.

    Just to be clear, I do not say that people are nor right to feel upset at Rowling if they feel she is wrong, and I do not say they should or have to buy her books. That would be ridiculous. I do not say that peopl shuld not be able to express their displeasure with her opinion. They have as much right (not more) to express their displeasure as she had to express the opinion. I will not insist that people be made not to do what they have an unambiguous right to do. A public outcry over an author’s opinion or behavior or whatever is an occupational risk. (I am reminded of the old saying about Caesar’s wife). I believe (and I did read law at University) that cancellation crosses over into severely inappropriate and often illegal behavior. When it is inappropriate, though many of us find that objectioable, it is up to the target to complain and defen her rights. When it is illegal, it should be punished so that people who favor that means of trying to incite social change get the message that they need to use methods more respectful of diverse viewpoints. For the record I do not think that Daniel Radcliffe or his fellow actors did anything illegal. As to whether it was inappropriate it is a closer call. Certainly it was IMHO cowardly, craven, ungrateful and ultimately counterproductive. We are all just a little further today from a world that accepts the paradigm that Radcliffe affects to embrace regarding human sex and gender than we would have been had he tried first to talk to and reason with his friend and mentor. How very UNLIKE Harry Potter of him.


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