Biography of J.K. Rowling

Read about the life and work of J.K. Rowling, the author of the popular Harry Potter series.
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Updated on: July 9, 2007
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Not Just Another Best-Seller

On June 21, 2003, three months after David was born, the fifth book of the Harry Potter series was released. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix broke—no, shattered—no, obliterated—the previous record for first-day sales by a book, which had been set by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fourth book sold 372,775 copies in the United Kingdom the day it was released; the fifth one sold almost 1.8 million. The United States sales figures were even more impressive. All told, Order of the Phoenix sold about seven million copies the day it was released.

The Harry Potter books have been translated into more than 60 languages, and it has been estimated that more than 300 million copies have been sold around the world. The first four books have been made into films: Sorcerer's Stone made more than $950 million; Chamber of Secrets, more than $850 million; Prisoner of Azkaban, more than $780 million; and Goblet of Fire, more than $890 million. All four are among the top twenty highest-grossing films of all time.

In February 2004, Forbes magazine estimated that Rowling had £576 million, or more than a billion dollars. This would make her the first person ever to become a billionaire from writing books.

On July 16, 2005, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released, destroying the previous book's sales records; on the first day of sales, it sold 6.9 million copies in the United States alone. That's about 80 copies per second!

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