Rowling loses out in BBC Big Read contest
December 13, 2003 at 6:25 PM ET
JRR Tolkien's epic fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings has won the BBC's Big Read contest to find the UK's most popular novel beating Pride and Prejudice, His Dark Materials, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
With 23% of the public's vote or 174 thousand votes, LotR was a clear winner with 39 thousand more votes than second-placed Pride and Prejudice and more than His Dark Materials, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter combined.
Phone votes were cast up to and during the BBC Two show and Tolkien's triumph was announced live from the Royal Opera House in a program presented by Clive Anderson.
Bookmakers Ladbrokes had closed bets in October because The Lord of the Rings had become the only real contender in "a one horse race."
A spokesman from Ladbrokes said:
"Tolkien fans are amongst the best organized group of supporters on the internet and for two days, our website was under siege. Nobody wanted to back anybody other than Tolkien, we couldn't continue betting on a one horse race and were forced to close the book and take the losses on the chin."
Book-selling internet site Amazon.co.uk reported the project - which originally shortlisted 100 novels - boosted sales of some books by nearly 500% after the list was announced on October 18th.