Potter fans more likely to read Rowling’s latest release

August 02, 2013, 2:55 PM GMT+0

J.K. Rowling’s latest book – The Cuckoo’s Calling – may be a gritty detective novel, but Harry Potter fans are much more likely to pick up a copy than those who haven’t read a Potter book at all.

22% of Americans who have read at least one of Rowling’s books on the wizarding world say they are likely to read The Cuckoo’s Calling – even though it follows the story of the war veteran-turned private investigator Cormoran Strike, who delves into the mystery of the supposed suicide of a young model.

Despite the twists and turns of the detective novel, the greatest revelation of all was that that book, written by Robert Galbraith, was in realty Rowling writing under a pseudonym. That was before literary critics had praised the quality of the novel for a ‘first-time’ author, and even wondered at the ‘male’ novelist’s ability to describe women’s clothing in such detail.

It was only when a confidant of Rowling’s from a law firm couldn’t contain the secret any longer that her true identity was revealed.

Rowling described writing under a pseudonym as a “liberating experience”. She said: “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name.” The British novelist had previously written an adult’s book, The Casual Vacancy, under her own name amid much anticipation.

Despite the hype surrounding The Cuckoo’s Calling’s authorship, 60% of Harry Potter readers and 75% of those who have never read a Harry Potter book said they had never heard of it. 31% of Americans who had read Harry Potter say they knew The Cuckoo’s Calling was written by Rowling, compared with just 19% among those who have never read Harry Potter.

Young demographic biggest Potter fans

With 35% of Americans having read at least one Harry Potter book, among the biggest fans are men aged 18-34 (44%), women aged 18-34 (61%) and women aged 35-54 (41%).

The age and gender group least likely to have read about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts were men aged over 55 – just 21% of this age group had read at least one of Rowling’s spellbound series.

Although millennial men are among the most likely to have picked up a Potter book at one point or another, they are the least likely age and gender group to have finished the whole series. 26% of men aged 18-34 who had read at least one Harry Potter book say they completed the entire series. Women of the same age were more likely to persevere – among 18-34 year old women who have read a Harry Potter book, more than half (61%) had read books one through seven.

Once Americans have read one Harry Potter book, as a nation we’re hooked – YouGov asked which Harry Potter Book people had read. Among those in the US who had read at least one book, 47% had got through the entire series.

The most-read book among Harry Potter readers charted Harry’s move from Privet Drive to Hogwarts in the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (43%). Just 5% of Harry Potter readers had trawled through the almost 800-pages that make up the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus research services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com.

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