How did the 'Hunger Games' Trilogy outsell the 'Harry Potter' Series on Amazon?
Midnight Releases spawn in-store sales
by Kristina Short
In an age when books are more than ink and paper, when new releases can be immediately downloaded to a variety of electronic devices, when readers can access the content they want, when they want, where they want, at the touch of a button, the reading experience is vastly different than it was even five years ago. If the Harry Potter series had been released in both e-book and print formats, would it still hold the number one spot on the best-seller list? Perhaps. There's no way to be certain. However, this likely would have changed the unique experience that many Harry Potter fans took part in and still cherish.
At the height of its popularity, Harry Potter fans stood in lines at bookstores around the world for hours, sharing theories and dressing as their favorite characters, counting down the minutes until the clock struck midnight and the first copies were distributed. Book releases were a social event, a shared experience, as fans flocked to their local bookstores on release night.
The Harry Potter series was unique in the way it brought readers together, and that draws as much on when it was released (and the concurrent explosion of internet forums, fan sites, and broadband internet connectivity) as it does on the format in which it was released. Would the desire for a freshly-bound (not to mention more expensive hardcover) copy have been as strong had other options been available? Would fans have turned out in such droves if they could have downloaded the e-book from the comfort of their own home?
Some certainly would have, but the entire fan experience would have been fundamentally different than it was for those of us who discovered the series as it was being written. I, and I'd like to think many Potter fans, wouldn't trade that experience even if it meant the series remained on top of the best seller list for the next 100 years. The impact of the series extends far beyond any conventional measure of popularity, having entrenched itself in the minds and hearts of an entire generation of readers.
The popularity of Harry Potter across all age groups also helped redefine the way in which children's and young adult literature is viewed, perhaps opening the door for subsequent authors to gain a wider audience. The Hunger Games continues this process, challenging assumptions and reminding readers to not judge a book by its category.
That the Harry Potter series remained the best selling series on Amazon for approximately five years based primarily on sale of printed books, even as e-books rapidly increased in popularity, is remarkable. It highlights the brilliance of J.K. Rowling, who created worlds rich with detail and filled with characters that readers love and hate and fiercely defend, a world that draws readers in and inspires them. In the end, it is these qualities that make readers want to turn the page, paper or electronic.
Quality Over Quantity
by Alison Fahey
‘Hunger Games’ outselling ‘Harry Potter’ on Amazon.com is a direct result of Pottermore releasing the series to ebooks just this March. If Kindles, iPads, iPhones, or any other ereader existed when ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ was released in 1998, then the ‘Potter’ series would without the shadow of a doubt be absolutely crushing ‘Hunger Games’ ebook sales.
Another position to consider is nearly each and every ‘Harry Potter’ fan attended a midnight release of the books. If not at midnight, then most fans purchased the real, tangible copies at some point in order to read them because that was the only way. Real appreciation for the book is shown in that, in my humble opinion. Everyone already has the ‘Harry Potter’ books! Plain and simple.
A series’ quality should not be judged by the number of ebooks sold. That is corporate America for you, which is an entirely different conversation. However, the point is that it is all about the quality of the series and the unyielding love that its’ fans have.
The relationships and emotions formed by this series is irreplaceable in my life. I know that I speak for many ‘Potter’ fans out there when I say that come what may, nothing will surpass my love for this absolutely captivating world that J.K. Rowling has so eloquently created.