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Author Topic: When have so many been reading the same book at the same time?
Albireo
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posted 17 July 2005 01:30 AM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm referring to now, of course, and to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Reportedly about 10 million copies were sold worldwide on day 1. Perhaps about 10 million people are now reading that book, or have a bookmark in some page of that book. That is really an interesting phenomenon: millions of people reading the same book at the same time. My question is: when has this ever happened before? Has it ever been surpassed?

I suppose there were probably similar numbers for the last couple of Harry Potter books. Is there a religious occasion when tens of millions of people are reading the same passage of the Bible or of the Qur'an? When Mao released his Little Red Book, were tens of millions of Chinese reading it, or pretending that they were? Was there some huge blockbuster novel, tell-all memoir or some such book that led to millions of simultaneous readers?

[ 17 July 2005: Message edited by: Albireo ]


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Nikita
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posted 17 July 2005 01:44 AM      Profile for Nikita     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two of my sisters bought the book last night (they each bought one) and they've spent most of the day plowing through it. I, on the other hand, have been plowing through my poli sci text.

Somehow, it just isn't as exciting. Whouda thunk?


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N.Beltov
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posted 17 July 2005 02:12 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You're reading the wrong poli sci Nikita. Or not enough of it. Find someone explosive to read. Real life and theory developed in the crucible of revolution, for example, is often interesting in an explosive sort of way.

I think in regard to the point that Albereio made could be made about many countries at many times about many books and publications. I was in Moscow in the fall of '87 when Kasparov finally defeated Karpov and not only were people reading the same games and analysis but they were playing chess with a fury I'd never seen before. Ideas are a great force to be reckoned with.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
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posted 17 July 2005 09:01 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Charles Dickens published his books in serial form; I've read somewhere that when his next installment of The Old Curiosity Shop was due to arrive by ship in the US, all sort of people crowded the docks waiting to find out if Little Nell would live; and were heart-broken by her fate.
From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 24 July 2005 04:30 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmmmmmmm, I guess I was the only one who was surprised when Snape turned out to be the HBP...

The ending was so sad, but it was only because Harry couldn't look past the OBVIOUS facts about Voldemort being a cruel bastard. Seriously, he didn't have to stop dating Ginny (they're a cute couple...) just to be all stoic and 'I must do this by myself because it's the right thing to do!'. He seemed to ignore the fact that Voldemort realizes that the Weasley's are the closest thing to a family Harry has (now that Albus is gone ) so...regardless of Ginny dating him or not...He'd probably kill them all anyways.


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Stephen Gordon
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posted 24 July 2005 04:44 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Post deleted, because it really had nothing to do with the thread...

[ 24 July 2005: Message edited by: Stephen Gordon ]


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skdadl
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posted 24 July 2005 05:03 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Contrarian beat me to Dickens!

There were never such numbers, maybe (because the reading world was smaller), but at certain times in the C18, the C19, and the C20, in different ways, similar phenomena occurred.

When I was a kid, eg, in the 1950s, just before TV took universal hold, there were a lot of North American authors making very good livings writing stories for a number of popular magazines, some of which had a continental reach -- the Saturday Evening Post above all, but many others as well, including some in Canada.

And in the mid-C18, in England, novels were already being serialized, not quite in the manner of the great C19 books, but such that, say, a village pastor would read each new chapter out to all his parishioners. That happened most famously with Samuel Richardson's novels -- we hear that villages rang church bells to celebrate the happy climax of Pamela, eg, or that hundreds of people wrote to Richardson midway through Clarissa, begging him to save her! (Spoiler: he didn't!)


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