Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Australia Laments Loss of Harry Potter

At the risk of turning this blog into an "All Harry, All the Time" blog, I continue to read interesting takes on the final book that I want to share here. I suppose the good news is that this will pretty much all be over in the next few days, although I warn you that I still hope to snag some pictures Friday night at my local Barnes & Noble when the final Potter Party is held.

This particular article is from "tomorrow's" The Australian (love that international date line) and speaks of the likelihood that there will never ever be anything like the Harry Potter phenomenon again.
In a world where children's lives are increasingly dominated by electronic entertainment, from television to the internet, iPods and PlayStation, the impact of J.K. Rowling and her Potter tales on reading habits was ground-breaking. Books, once the domain of bespectacled geeks, were suddenly very cool, thanks to the adventures of a bespectacled geek.

"I can remember when The Goblet of Fire came out I walked into a school and about half the children were sitting in the playground reading," recalls Bronwen Bennett, president of the Children's Book Council of Australia. "If it hadn't been for Harry Potter they would have been seen as geeky or nerdy. It has been wonderful in getting kids reading and legitimising reading as an acceptable recreational pursuit."

In particular, Bennett says the books were crucial in getting boys to read. Marketing, she says, also played a crucial role in the creation of Harry Potter as a household name, with the movies, toys and games all luring young readers back to the literature.

"Initially it was the right book at the right time and as with any manuscript, not only do you have to find the right publisher but you have to find the person within that publishing house who recognises this as a potential success," Bennett says.
...
Andrew Hawkins from the book's Australian publisher, Allen & Unwin, says there isn't, and may never be, any comparison. "Even with the global embargo, it is totally scary," he says of the launch timed with military precision. "I would like to think in my time I might see another Harry Potter, but I won't. It's just hard to imagine. And for every person in publishing the $64 million question is what could possibly replace it. It was just the right book for the right time."
...
Andrew Hawkins from the book's Australian publisher, Allen & Unwin, says there isn't, and may never be, any comparison. "Even with the global embargo, it is totally scary," he says of the launch timed with military precision. "I would like to think in my time I might see another Harry Potter, but I won't. It's just hard to imagine. And for every person in publishing the $64 million question is what could possibly replace it. It was just the right book for the right time."
We'll see what happens next. I imagine that the Harry Potter clones will be out by the dozen before we know it as other authors and publishers try to cash in on the world that JK Rowling has made so popular. I know that I should "never say never" but I do doubt that anyone will ever equal the impact that Rowling has had on the bookselling world.

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