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J.K. Rowling’s book sales slow as she spirals into transphobia

J.K. Rowling at the world premiere of
J.K. Rowling at the world premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in 2010.Photo: Shutterstock

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s book revenues lagged behind the industry this past month as authors generally experienced the yearly summer surge in sales.

Fiction book sales increase during the summer as more people have time to read, and this year was no exception. In June, fiction print book sales increased 31.4% over the month of May, according to NPD BookScan.

Related: JK Rowling & other famous writers signed a “free speech” letter. Trans writers were on the list too.

But J.K. Rowling didn’t even see half of that increase. Her book sales increased by just 10.9% in the same period. When it comes to just the Harry Potter books, sales increased by a measly 7.7%.

“Looking at [her] 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,” NPD Group analyst and executive director of business development Kristen McLean told Variety.

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

According to the data, if her books had followed the market trend, then they would have earned $1.7 million more this past month.

And it’s not because of the year 2020 – Rowling’s sales in the first half of 2020 were up 26.5% over the first half of 2019, supporting the idea that whatever the problem is for Rowling, it started in May or June of this year.

While Rowling has occasionally liked – and written – anti-transgender tweets over the past few years, her transphobia took center stage this past May when she liked an extreme tweet making fun of a transgender woman, tweeted an obscene and transphobic message at a nine-year-old fan, and finally in early June published a rambling, 3700-word essay about why she doesn’t like transgender women.

Since then, she has spent the month defending her views on Twitter and getting condemned by celebrities who worked on the Harry Potter films while fan sites cut ties with her, authors flee her literary agency, and writer Stephen King denounced her.

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