'Hunger Games' passes 'Harry Potter' as bestselling Amazon series

Since debuting in 2008, Amazon says, Katniss Everdeen and the Hunger Games 'have taken the world by storm.'

Murray Close/Lionsgate/AP
The news that the 'Hunger Games' books have outsold the 'Harry Potter' books is particularly surprising, notes Amazon, because the 'Harry Potter' series consists of seven books, while the 'Hunger Games' series is only a trilogy.

“Girl wonder beats boy wizard,” crowed CNN. “Take that, Harry Potter,” wrote the New York Times.

The reigning wizard of book sales has just been overthrown – again – by Suzanne Collins’s "Hunger Games" trilogy, which surpassed the "Harry Potter" books to become the best-selling series on Amazon.com, the company announced.

“Since debuting in 2008, Katniss Everdeen and the Hunger Games have taken the world by storm, much as Harry Potter did a decade before,” Sara Nelson, the editorial director of books and Kindle at Amazon, said in a statement. “Interestingly, this series is only three books versus Harry Potter’s seven, and to achieve this result in just four years is a great testament to both the popularity of the work and, we think, the growth in reading digitally during that time.”

Earlier this month, staff writer Molly Driscoll broke the news for Monitor readers that “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James surpassed Harry Potter to become the bestselling book in British history.

Though Amazon declined to produce specific sales figures for “Hunger Games,” Scholastic, the publisher for both books, told the NYT has 150 million copies of the "Harry Potter" series and more than 50 million copies of the “Hunger Games” trilogy in print in the US. Amazon’s sales figures include both print and digital sales. (“Hunger Games” has been a huge seller in e-book format; the "Harry Potter" series was unavailable for sale in digital format until March of this year.)

Collins’s trilogy is set in a postapocalyptic world in which children fight one another to the death and is wildly successful among teenage audiences, just as Harry Potter once was.

First “Fifty Shades” and now “Hunger Games.” Why Harry Potter’s waning popularity? The answer, we think is shockingly simple: Harry Potter is a decade old now. Hard to believe, right? Though he’s flagging now, the longevity of his sales record is a testament to J.K. Rowling and her boy wizard.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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