Even in the tiny muggle town of Fort Collins everyone may feel its presence. From the halls of the Lory Student Center to the arms of students to the desks of microbiology researchers, Harry Potter is everywhere.
Scholastic, J.K. Rowling’s U.S. publisher, estimates that “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” set new sales records by selling 5 million copies in its first day of release. The previous four books in the Harry Potter series have sold 192 million copies worldwide.
“It’s wonderful that it has so many people reading,” said Adolescent Literature Instructor Pam Coke. “We’ve actually heard more about Harry Potter as a mega summer blockbuster than some of the big movies.”
Rowling’s Potter series has broken sales boundaries not only in sheer numbers, but also across demographics.
“It is something that is read by elementary school students all the way up through college and adult,” Coke said. “Few books I can think of have that kind of range of application, particularly before a movie based on the books comes out.”
In general, Coke says that the genres of science fiction and fantasy have traditionally had a predominately male readership base. Harry Potter crosses this gender line because it is definitely a fantasy work but actually has more females than males reading it.
When the fifth installment of the series was released on June 21, the CSU bookstore threw a Harry Potter party complete with themed cupcakes from the student center food service staff.
“We have a lot of Harry Potter in the foreign languages,” said Susan Stussie, general book manager at the CSU bookstore. “It is a lot of fun selling them, even if you are not super fluent in the language you can read them.”
From $60 deluxe editions of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” to small figurines in the likenesses of Rowling’s characters, Harry Potter books and merchandise were the bookstore’s biggest producers of general merchandise revenue for the month of June.
“Harry Potter is really cool,” said 13-year-old Jake Trumble. “I think anyone who has seen the movies should read the books. It gives more detail.”
Jake’s mother, CSU student Sue Trumble, shares his sentiments and is impatiently waiting both for her son to finish “The Order of the Phoenix” so she can read it and for the third Harry Potter movie to come out.
“I can’t get the fifth book away from my son,” Sue Trumble said. “I found it amazing that he would turn his TV off to read. He’s usually a Cartoon Network kid but he would actually turn it off so that he could concentrate on the book.”
Senior literature major Lisa Dusenberry, who finished the latest Harry Potter the day after it was released, says that while she now loves the books she was not always such a big fan. “I was one of those people who was like: ‘I’m not going to read Harry Potter because everyone is reading Harry Potter and so they can’t be any good,'” Dusenberry said.
However, when she finally began the first installment, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” at the request of a friend, she immediately loved it. She had the next three Potter books read within a month’s time and had the fifth one delivered to her house on the day of release.
“I suggest that people try them,” Dusenberry said. “For anyone who doesn’t really like to read they’re great books. They’re really reader friendly and easy to read fairly quickly because most of the events are really engaging. Once you get started you really want to know what happens next.”