Harry Potter in Canada
Dear J.K. Rowling,
You are an amazing writer and I hope to be a good writer like you some day. Almost all of my family has read every book you wrote.
—Spencer, 10 years old
Canada Thanks J K Rowling
Spencer's message was just one of thousands we received in the 13 years Raincoast co-published J K Rowling's Harry Potter series. Countless Canadian fans shared his feelings.
In 2007, on the eve of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Raincoast Books sent blank pages to 180 Canadian bookstores and libraries to be signed by readers. The pages were filled with personal notes, drawings and congratulations from Harry Potter fans from across Canada. The 483 pages we collected were hand-bound in gold-stamped leather and cloth and the commemorative books were presented to J K Rowling in person at a free public reading in the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto.
Publishing Harry Potter
Harry Potter is, of course, a book-publishing phenomenon. It transformed our notions about children’s publishing and transformed the business of Raincoast Books.
The story of Harry and his friends captured our imagination, and J K Rowling's books sold more than 11 million copies in Canada. Over 350 million books have been sold worldwide. As the Globe & Mail wrote in 2008, Harry Potter turned Raincoast from a small west coast company “into a marketing powerhouse.”
The true legacy of Harry Potter, however, is more than just book sales and marketing success.
Harry Potter and a Cleaner Environment
Starting in 2003 with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Raincoast was the first publisher in the world to publish Harry Potter on 100% post-consumer, 100% Ancient-Forest Friendly paper. In doing so, Raincoast helped create a commercial market for these types of papers. Since 2003, Raincoast’s printing practices have saved the equivalent of over 100,000 trees and now 30 other publishers around the world have started using environmental sensitive papers in creation of their own local editions of Harry Potter.
Reading Habits of the Harry Potter Generation
Even more importantly, Harry Potter has turned a generation of children like Spencer into avid readers and future authors.
The National Endowment for the Arts report Reading on the Rise (2009) indicates that for the first time in over 20 tears, young people are reading more books. In fact, readers aged 18-24 have seen the biggest increase in reading rates of any group since 2002. The Chairman of the NEA attributed some of this encouraging news to the power of the Harry Potter.
The Final Chapter?
Even though the final chapter of Harry Potter has been written and Raincoast no longer publishes the books, the imaginative work of J K Rowling and the readers she has inspired goes on. It will be fascinating to watch and read what fans like Spencer will accomplish in the years to come.
Keep up with Harry Potter and the brilliant writer who made all of this possible at J K Rowling's website.
Penguin Canada is currently the Canadian distributor of the Harry Potter series.
See the FAQ section for more info on Harry Potter.