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
Date Written: January 13, 2009
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: Suggested Citation