How different would the release of Harry Potter have been if it came out today rather than in 1997?
Computers in every home were not common when we were first introduced to the world that J.K. Rowling had so intricately & lovingly created, let alone book blogging. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone) was released on the cusp of the Internet boom. It wasn’t long after that when almost everyone you spoke to was surfing the information super highway. But even then, the world wide web was still in its infancy. There are some bloggers who have been doing it for many years, myself included (over 10 to be exact, though not solely dedicated to books). A bit more specifically, there are some book bloggers who have been doing it for quite a few years now, and I find that it’s not until the last year or two that it’s really taken off. The internet is the wave of the future, and companies are finally taking notice at the impact that word of mouth can have, whether it be via blogs, online, or in person.
I’d even go to say that when the last book was released in 2007, book blogging was still a fairly new idea. Sure, there were some people blogging already but I can fathom a probable guess that any ARCs that would have been available for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would have been reserved for professionals in the industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to sign a confidentiality agreement, with how much secrecy surrounded each installment of the beloved series.
Now, can you imagine if Harry Potter were to be released in the present day? Imagine you were one of the ones to receive an ARC of one of the books? Would you even know what you had in your hands and what a worldwide phenomenon it would become? Okay, now forget the advanced copies. Even if you waited for the release date, went out and bought a copy and devoured it in one sitting like many Potter fans, the online community would be on fire discussing the latest book. All these years later, the Potter fandom is one of the biggest out there. Imagine how much bigger it probably would be if it were to be released now. I’d say spoilers would run rampant though. Can you imagine finding out all the key moments with people tweeting it and having so-and-so die trend on Twitter??
That being said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. People say that J.K. Rowling reinvigorated the love of reading in children with this series, and it’s based on the good old fashioned way that it was done: through printed books and non-internet-based marketing. It’s not even until maybe later this year that these seven beloved books will become available in eBook form via the Pottermore site. To me, it’s all of this combined that solidifies it as a classic.
Photo pictured above features my collection of all books Harry Potter-related. (Yes, that’s two copies of the full series – the “children’s” cover and the “adult” paperback versions which are just for show!)