Rival publishers pray for Harry Potter 'halo' effect

  July 7, 2003 at 11:15 AM ET
  Cheeser     HPANA (via Reuters)
 


From Reutersopens in new window:

Rather than envy U.S. Potter publisher Scholastic Corp's success, industry insiders are grateful that Rowling's magic touch has fired up interest in children's books.

Said Doug Whiteman, president of Penguin Young Readers Group, "Harry Potter has flung the door open to sales of children's fantasy books." Fantasy series and serials are the rage and there is no shortage of titles.

From the Artemis Fowl seriesopens in new window by Eoin Colfer about a brilliant, criminally minded youth, to Daniel Handler's humorously gloomy Lemony Snicket books of A Series of Unfortunate Eventsopens in new window, and Philip Pullman's sophisticated His Dark Materials seriesopens in new window, a wide variety is offered.

"I think without a doubt you have to say that Ms. Rowling did a service for readership and the book industry in general," says Richard Klonfas, children's books buyer for Coliseum Books in New York. "She has gotten kids very excited to read."

Two new series to be launched this autumn come from unusual sources.

Penguin is publishing Lion Boyopens in new window, written by Zizou Corder, the pen name for Louisa Young and her 10-year-old daughter Isabel Adomakoh Young, whose pet lizard is named Zizou.

The first book of a planned trilogy follows a 10-year-old boy who can speak the language of cats and uses London's stray cats to help him find his kidnapped parents. Film rights have been optioned by DreamWorks.

Eragon Inheritanceopens in new window from Knopf is a fantasy launched by a boy's discovery of a dragon hatchling. Author Christopher Paolini, now 19, began the trilogy as a home-schooled 15 year old.

I started reading the Artemis Fowl series while waiting in line to buy my Phoenix copy. It was quite good. Morbidly funny and depression, but good.

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