That’s not a year, btw. Well, it is, but not here and now. It’s how many copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were sold. Last week. Or maybe the week leading up to last week. I’m not entirely sure where the time period starts and ends, but it was in last week’s The Bookseller.
I’ve seen these figures before, and noted that J K Rowling’s wizard still appears in the top 20, two, maybe three, times. Alongside some other reasonably good books, and some not.
But that’s not what I’m about today. As I said, I’ve noted the sales figures but not considered anything more than that they still sell.
What I realised today was that 1987 new readers got the opportunity of meeting Harry for the first time, experiencing that moment of magic when you find yourself surrounded by the Dursleys, Hagrid, Muggles, lemon sherbets, and all the rest. When you realise that something very different and exciting is kicking off.
I had that moment over twenty years ago, and after reading the first three books in quick succession, had to sit back and wait for the remaining four for something like eight years. After that I was mostly envious of the new readers who didn’t have to wait, but could read all the books ‘now.’
Whereas in this new ‘now’ there are readers who weren’t even born then, who get to discover the famous books at their own pace.