The Harry Potter publishing phenomena is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Is it really 20 years already? Has an entire generation of Harry Potter fans grown up into adults who are more than half way through their twenties?
According to its publisher Bloomsbury, the Harry Potter series is estimated to have been sold more than 450 million copies, in over 79 languages, worldwide in the ten years between 1997 and 2007.
Before the publication of the first edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in 1997, author J.K. Rowling and her literary agent struggled to find a publishing house before Bloomsbury publishers in London took on the project. Publishing a book is always a substantial financial risk and more often than we would like to think, projects fail and the first print run does not even sell out. Commercially, Harry Potter is regarded as the most successful single publishing event in history. The final book, a midnight release and worldwide event, sold 2,7 million copies in the UK in 24 hours and 12 million copies in the US, where it was published by Scholastic, who held the US licence since 1999.
First editions of J.K. Rowlings "Harry Potter" are valuable collectables since the unprecedented success of the book, showing that today’s commercial publishers are providing our collectables of the future.
Below a listing of some events to celebrate the anniversary:
The auction house highlights a Harry Potter first edition for its sale "Rare Books and Works on Paper including Photographs and Autographs" on 20th July 2017 in London.
British Library Exhibition: Harry Potter: A History of Magic - Journey to where magic and myth began - Opens 20th October 2017
The British Library will unveil rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Visitors can marvel at original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, both on display for the first time.
More details here.
Nearly all major press has reported on the anniversary this week.
Twenty years of Harry Potter – the 20 things we have learned
Read the full article in the Guardian here.
And most importantly, many ILAB booksellers have featured stock on their websites and social media in recent weeks.
A few years ago, Peter Harrington Booksellers in London uploaded a very useful video guide on "How to identify a first edition". It does include a copy of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"
You can find a link to the video here.
Image credits: Peter Harrington Rare Books / British Libary online