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Amid anti-trans controversy, J.K. Rowling’s book sales decline despite literary industry’s June boom

2020-07-22

Looks like the only person who could put an end to Harry Potter was J.K. Rowling.

The bestselling author — considered one of the most successful in fiction ever — is experiencing a sharp drop in book sales as the literary industry on a whole is enjoying a rise.

According to figures from NPD BookScan, which tracked fiction titles in adult, young adult and juvenile sectors as experiencing similar double-digit growth with sales rising 31.4% in the U.S., the consistent bestseller saw her print book sales in the states rise only 10.9% in June.

By contrast, “Harry Potter” sales — which includes licensed titles not authored by Rowling — rose even less, just 7.7% for the month, Variety reported.

NPD Group business development director Kristen McLean said: “Looking at [Rowling’s] performance against the rest of the market, especially as benchmarked against her performance in 2019 — which was very consistent with the rest of the market — I think she’s down.”

“She’s certainly underperforming the rest of the market, comparatively, by two-thirds,” she said.

In June, the 54-year-old British novelist behind the mega-successful book franchise became the center of controversy after she began repeatedly expressing contentious views on transgender identity.

On June 6, Rowling mockingly implied that only women can menstruate and insisted “sex is real and has lived consequences” in a series of transphobic tweets to her 14.3 million Twitter followers.

“Harry Potter” film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were among many who publicly rebuked her for her anti-trans stance.

Days later, four authors quit The Blair Partnership, the U.K. literary agency that represents Rowling, citing it failed them in not standing up against recent comments made by the “Harry Potter” creator, which targeted transgender people.

GLAAD issued a statement calling on all organizations affiliated with Rowling to publicly denounce her derisive views.

Warner Bros., which distributed and markets the multi-billion dollar the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” film franchises, and Universal, home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks, followed suit with statements in support of diversity and inclusion.

The trade outlet noted that both entities, who are still in business with the polarizing penman “studiously avoiding using the words “transgender” or “J.K. Rowling” in their statements.”