J.K. Rowling’s “Adult” Novel Soars in Sales

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Oct. 4 2012 4:01 PM

J.K. Rowling’s “Adult” Novel Soars in Sales

J.K. Rowling may have closed the book on Harry Potter and Hogwarts, but she apparently still enjoys the phenomenal success she first earned from the adolescent wizard.

The Casual Vacancy—labeled, to the chagrin of Potter fans, as Rowling’s first foray into “adult” fiction—easily debuted at the top of the fiction charts in its first week. How easily? With first-week sales at 124,603 copies, Casual Vacancy outsold the next highest debut, Bernard Cornwell’s 1356, by a factor of 10, and sold 20 times more copies than the third highest debut, Jackie Collins’ The Power Trip.

Just keep in mind that when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows dropped in 2007, it moved more than 2.6 million copies in its first week—20 times the Casual Vacancy numbers. So remember, aspiring writers: Crafting "adult" novels may be your serious intellectual pursuit, but the real money is in stories with talking hats.

Chris Wade is a video and podcast producer for Slate and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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