During lockdown, we set out to cast a Banishing Charm on boredom by bringing Hogwarts to you with our Harry Potter At Home initiative. All the members of our Wizarding World family rallied together, like a digital Dumbledore’s Army, and developed a set of free offerings to help children, parents, carers and teachers find comfort and escape whilst we continued to stay at home. This culminated in the creation of a dedicated, free, online space – the Harry Potter At Home hub – to delight Harry Potter fans, old and new. From special chapter readings of the first Harry Potter book to crafting challenges and games, our aim was to inspire reading for pleasure, alongside enjoyment of the Harry Potter stories, as well as to bring some much needed joy and entertainment into your homes.
We can’t thank you enough for how enthusiastically you joined us on the magical Harry Potter At Home journey! In this article we want to share our gratitude for just how much love you’ve shown and continue to show for Harry Potter, and how inspiring that has been for first time readers and lifelong fans alike.
After Harry Potter hit the 500 million sales mark in 2018, it was estimated that 1 in 15 people in the world may own one of the novels. But during Harry Potter At Home, even more of you bought the Harry Potter books, published by Scholastic in the US, and they hit the top spot on the New York Times Bestseller List during lockdown. And that’s not all. Publisher Bloomsbury reported that more of you bought physical copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the first half of this year, than in the same period last year, despite UK bookshops being closed during lockdown. And Scholastic also reported that sales of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone doubled in the height of lockdown! Thank you for continuing to read Harry Potter and inspiring new readers with your love of the series.
In March and April, Pottermore Publishing teamed up with digital library suppliers to allow access to the first book in its digital form, and Audible Stories also made the audiobook available free to stream, As a result, one million of you borrowed the first book via the unlimited access granted to libraries in the US and UK as part of Harry Potter At Home. Millions more of you listened in the six different languages made available in audio. And over 4.5 million of you listened to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone on Alexa as part of Audible's free Alexa Listening Event. We loved that so many of you enjoyed the first story at home with your families or in online classrooms in these new ways.
As part of Harry Potter At Home, you watched some of the best-loved faces across global, entertainment, music and sport read all seventeen chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. You were there every step of the way, from David Beckham reading Quidditch commentary, to Helena Bonham Carter reciting Snape’s potions riddle – and of course let’s not forget that memorable Malfoy reunion… Since their launch, the chapter readings have been enjoyed over 30 million times across all platforms, including WizardingWorld.com and Spotify. We think even the calm and collected Professor McGonagall would have been unable to contain her excitement! We are so grateful to all our celebrity chapter readers, as well as our Chapter Seventeen families for taking the time to take part.
We called and you answered! With each chapter video you will spot fantastic interpretations of the events, characters and locations of each chapter dotted throughout the readings. And we were absolutely blown away by the talent of your submissions! We’ve had incredible artwork from young and older fans alike, not to mention from all over the world! See for yourself here! We hope you enjoyed creating the illustrations just as much as we enjoyed marvelling at them.
Right from the start, thousands of you enjoyed our dedicated Harry Potter At Home hub, as well as our First Year Challenges, First Year Readers and Crafting Magic hubs. In fact, during lockdown a whopping 7 million of you visited Harrypotterathome.com. You read articles and played quizzes from our friends at Bloomsbury and Scholastic, as well as taking on some crafting challenges of your own. And once the chapter readings started, many of you collected house points with our Chapter Quizzes and Chapter Challenges. Thank you for reading and playing along – in our eyes, you all win the House Cup!
Whilst many bookshops around the world remained closed, it was pretty – well – magical that during the Harry Potter At Home initiative, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone soared to top spots in the Amazon.com chart and Audible.com bestseller lists faster than a Nimbus Two Thousand. And the Harry Potter stories remain some of the most checked out books in libraries – Hermione would be proud! We love that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone is only just the beginning, and you continue to spread your love for the first story, and the rest of the Harry Potter series in the bad times and in the good!
Following the Harry Potter At Home initiative, 18 million of you are now signed up to the Harry Potter Fan Club, a community where everyone is welcome. And we’ve found that since the initiative began, there have been 3 times more children signing up for the Fan Club – as well as many more adults! It seems a whole new generation of readers are ready to board the Hogwarts Express to discover more about Hogwarts and follow Harry’s wizarding adventures…
So thank you for helping us turn on the light in these darkest of times, continuing to love the Harry Potter books more than ever, and helping inspire the joy of reading in a whole new generation of fans. And remember, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone might be the entrance to the wizarding world – just like your very own book equivalent of Diagon Alley – but there are plenty of Harry’s adventures left to discover.
Sign up for the Harry Potter Fan Club newsletter today and be among the first to receive latest wizarding world news, events, activities, exclusives access and more – straight to your inbox. You might have reached the end of the first story, but your Harry Potter journey is only just beginning.