I thought I was done with the Pottermore story after my most recent post about it, but it looks like there might just be yet another piece of information to consider. Yahoo has a story looking at how J.K. Rowling’s recent decision to co-write a Harry Potter sequel play, and the release of several new Harry Potter coloring books, has prompted a surge in sales. Whereas sales had fallen to fewer than 800.000 copies per year from 2012 through 2014, sales in 2015 after the announcement of the play rebounded to 1.34 million copies.
The piece also mentions the Pottermore revenue declines and site revamp, and hears from Pottermore executives who say that the revamp has significantly boosted digital sales. Pottermore CEO Susan Jurevics announced that Pottermore broke its monthly e-book and audiobook sales record in December 2015.
It seems likely that the play will continue to boost sales when it opens and runs, especially if productions open in other parts of the world (as I would expect they surely will). With that in mind, perhaps the new sales arrangements might also have been about getting ready for an anticipated rush of new business?
I still think that the change is a sign that trying to sell even famous and popular e-books through a single publisher-run site is no longer a viable strategy, but it seems to be a little harder to contend that Pottermore is in serious trouble if Rowling’s new play is reviving Harry Potter’s popularity. It will be intriguing to see what happens next.