Harry Potter might be forgotten as a children fantasy literature in several years, but the industrial success of Harry Potter will always be remembered and revisited.
I just watched the Chinese Program "Dao of Business (Shang Dao)". They made a brilliant series examine the success and imagination of Harry Potter success, looking at marketing, publishing, film making, star making, franchise operations, toys, theme parks... This list can go on forever. The whole industrial chain is creating a value of more than $200 billion! And more than 70% profit is made outside the film and books.
This is just so amazing. I can't help admiring the creativity and energy. Capitalism is not all bad.
The whole story is full of contingency. But when we look at the industrial chain behind the Harry Potter books, it is very clear that there will must be a legend like this happening, whether or not it is Harry Potter or Peter Henry or something else.
The success of Harry Potter is a wonderful case study for almost all industries.
Culture: To please the American readers, the publisher changed the name of "HP and Philosopher's stone" into "Sorcerer's stone", and made the author's name appear as JK Rowling in order not to let people know the book is from a female writer (but this become unnecessary when JK Rowling becomes a legend herself and added to the popularity of the book).
Marketing: the publisher spent millions of dollar to promote the book even before the book is in the book store. They repackaged JK Rowling according to her personality and fully used Rowling's Cinderella story. The publisher hired writer all over the nation to write reviews on Harry Potter, making the book appear not just as a children's book, but has all the quality to become popular before it reaches the market. The publisher went on to lead the New York Times and Boston Globe to highly recommend the book.
Time Warner: Time Warner is the biggest winner as well as the ultimate designer behind the show, profiting from Harry Potter more than $6billion. They are just impossible. They formed a 3D, worldwide alliance to promote the book. Coca Cola, Lego, Disney, Universal Studio, famous people... They used all means to create expectation and all kinds of headline. Each position in the film can be a new headline. They not only succeed in keeping the topic hot; they made it hotter and hotter every time they appear in the news. They changed director for the film frequently, made the content of new books more confidential than national secrets, they choose actors for Harry Potter as 60,000 children applied. They just made it an phenomenon! Then they cooperated with all industries and corporation, made toys, paper games and build theme park!
What's more, they are not harming anyone's interests. Unlike those financial institutions who screw everyone else up, Harry Potter legend just created a huge market and wealth out of nothing, creating tens of world level stars, new jobs, endless market. And this is benefiting almost anybody. This is real magic!
Now, China is going to learn from it.