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Never Tickle a Sleeping Bookworm: How Readers Devour Harry Potter

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 27, No. 6, p. 818, 2009

15 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2012  

Anthony Patterson

University of Liverpool

Stephen Brown

Ulster University

Date Written: January 13, 2009

Abstract

Purpose – Harry Potter is one of the world’s most remarkable marketing phenomena. The purpose of this paper is to reveal that consumers interact with the Potter brand in a variety of ways, ways that parallel the four archetypal houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper interrogates Pottermania by means of a longitudinal qualitative study of fans, non-fans and neutrals.

Findings – The paper finds that, just as pupils at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and wizardly are many and varied, so too Rowling’s readers come in several distinctive forms. In keeping with the prototypical characteristics of the Hogwarts houses, four Rowling reading archetypes can be tentatively identified: Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, and Slytherins.

Practical implications – This paper shows, contrary to the stereotype, that there is much more to Harry Potter consumers than the long lines of enthusiastic fans standing outside bookstores at midnight.

Originality/value – In a world where brands are narratives and consumers are readers, this paper shows that there are several distinctive modes of “reading a brand” and evaluates their implications for the future of the Harry Potter franchise.

Keywords: Narratives, Consumer behaviour, Books, Fiction, Reading, Brands

Suggested Citation

Patterson, Anthony and Brown, Stephen, Never Tickle a Sleeping Bookworm: How Readers Devour Harry Potter (January 13, 2009). Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 27, No. 6, p. 818, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2004529

Anthony Patterson (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, Merseyside L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.liv.ac.uk/management/staff/anthony-patterson/

Stephen Brown

Ulster University ( email )

Northland Road
Londonderry, BT48 7JL
Northern Ireland

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