Since J.K. Rowling published her first novel in the series in 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (in US, the book was published one year later as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), the seven-book series (consisting of 4,195 pages) has sold more than 450 million copies, making Rowling the only author to join the exclusive billionaire’s club. Undoubtedly, the Harry Potter series redefined the concept of the bestseller in modern times (consider that at his peak, Dickens’s novels averaged 50,000 readers!) and has been translated into 67 languages.
There is no verifiable data, of course, to prove that all 400 million copies were read (and certainly no data to ascertain how many books were re-read — and how many times — by loyal fans), but the sales figures alone prove that the series had a major impact on the reading habits of muggles throughout the world. A study by a market research firm in 2006 indicated that 51% of kids, ages 5 to 17, stated that they did not read books for fun before they started reading the Harry Potter series; 75% stated that the series had encouraged them to start reading other books. However, that interest in reading decreases with increase in age due to the constant allure of all things technological. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that the percentage of children who read for fun each day drops from 43% in fourth grade to 19% in eighth grade.
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I & II
Harry Potter: The Story of a Global Business Phenomenon
Harry Potter – The Ultimate Book of Facts
Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey
Quidditch Through the Ages (Harry Potter)
For further reading: Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steve Johnson, Riverhead Trade (2006). http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/books/11potter.html?pagewanted=all