Popularity of Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone

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  • Topic: Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
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  • Published : May 9, 2013
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What accounts for the popularity of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone?




The popularity and success of Harry Porter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been variously referred to as a phenomenon, which is a qualified description seeing that by 2003, it had sold over 50 million copies worldwide (Whited, 2009). This has as much to do with J.K. Rowling’s narrative form as with the production of the book. The book’s publication is not merely about its binding and design, but also its presentation to the public. In Robert Danton’s article the History of Books, he shows how texts fit into the world’s socio-economic context. The author gives the text to the publisher who, in turn, oversees its production and its shipment to the sellers. When the bookseller makes the book available to the book reader, this completes the life cycle or circuit since the reader is able to influence the author after and before the composition. This circuit, in the case of Harry Porter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is complicated because the narrative produced is first affected by the literary agent before the publisher. Harry Porter and the Philosopher’s Stone’s two English publishers in the UK and the US took the book’s text and made vary different books, although the story remained as it was (Whited, 2009). The text’s presentation, therefore, is able to alter the public’s perception of her narrative, although this may be vary subtle. This paper seeks to discuss how the book’s production enhanced the book’s contents and led to the universal success of Harry Porter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

In the creation of all books, the beginning is the transformation of the book’s manuscript into a product that can be marketed. While J.K. Rowling claimed that the book was written for her consumption and not for children, she, however, decided to have it published and sent her work to her agents (Whited, 2009). It is contended that the agency she used was renowned for choosing writers who had good value for business with writers like Anna Pasternak, Alistair MacLean, and A.J. Quenelle. While the agent Christopher Little did not normally deal with children’s books as he did not believe in their commercial value. However, his contract with J.K. Rowling is probably his most profitable and accumulated at least 15% of gross earnings for the British home market and 20% for US, film, and translational deals (Whited, 2009).

What the emphasis of Little’s agency on profitable business practice indicates is how the agent influences the manuscripts. Two of his assistants thought that the presented chapters were unusual to a sufficient degree to warrant his interest. However, they insisted that there should be two changes in enhancement of the narrative. One of them was that Neville Longbottom’s character needed extra development and that Quidditch, the wizard sport, needed to play a bigger role since it could appeal more to boys as a game with the rules included in the book (Rana, 2009). This alteration was significant as it indicates the manner in which the book agency saw the book’s narrative. In majority of novels aimed at school children, sport plays a major part and the focus of the sport and their necessity for detail suggests that the agency saw the book as a sure bet for the school-story model (Rana, 2009).

There were also doubts as to how popular the book would be to warrant high sales. This was not because of the book’s contents but because, while girls were up to reading books authored by men, boys were less likely to read books written by a woman (Mullen, 2010). Because girls are more avid readers compared to girls, there was need to increase the popularity of the book to boys. This led to Rowling accepting to publish Harry Porter and the Philosopher’s Stone and her other subsequent books as J.K....
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