Harry Potter Falls Off NYT Best-Seller List

The Toronto Star reports: “This Sunday’s New York Times will be Potter-less for the first time since Dec. 27, 1998, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (as series opener Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was titled in the U.S.) made its debut on the paper’s bestseller list. The streak has ended with the dropping of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, published last July.”

Best-selling sf or fantasy novels rarely get any play from Hugo voters, but a lot of fans enjoyed the stories and even more were grateful to Rowling for inspiring many children’s love of reading. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was a Best Novel Hugo nominee in 2000. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire actually won the award in 2001.

The ensuing controversy over a fantasy novel winning the Hugo (completely within the rules) does not seem enough to explain why another Harry Potter novel never made the final ballot. After all, every Harry Potter movie has been a Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo finalist: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone nominated in 2002, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2003, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2005, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2006, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2008.


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5 thoughts on “Harry Potter Falls Off NYT Best-Seller List

  1. Interestingly, I seem to recall that all of the irate letters that Locusmag.com published about the Potter novel win were written by people who were not members of the Worldcon.

    In the words of Matt ruff:
    “The next time I hear someone complain about the lack of gender or ethnic diversity among the Hugo nominees, I’m going to ask them who they nominated. And when they admit they didn’t nominate anyone, I’m going to mock them. This is a rare example of a democratic process in which a single person really can make a difference, so if you don’t vote, you don’t care.”

  2. So do you think the opponents of fantasy novels winning the Hugo became more active in nominating sf works and, in effect, squeezed Potter off the ballot? Or did Harry’s fans think the later novels were somehow less worthy of the award?

  3. Let’s go poke the web with Google:

    Novel Hugo ballots:
    2000: 334 nominations
    2001: 381 nominating ballots
    2002: 486 VOTERS
    [the 2003 site isn’t responding]
    2004: 462 people nominated
    n.b.: “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — J. K. Rowling — 22”

    What does it mean? Heck if I know.

  4. After the Hugos are awarded, the nominating ballot statistics for the top 15 places are released. For example, the first Harry Potter book appeared in 1997 and would have been eligible for the 1998 Hugos. There are seven books in the Harry Potter series, and here is what we know about the nominating votes each received:

    1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (26 June 1997) – not in top 15
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2 July 1998) – not in top 15
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 July 1999) – nominee – 46 votes
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (8 July 2000) – nominee & winner – 56 votes
    5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (21 June 2003) – 15th place – 22 votes
    6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (16 July 2005) – 12th place – 24 votes
    7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (21 July 2007) (2008 info not yet released)

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