The numbers are in and it looks as if JK Rowling has defied her critics in the best way possible – by increasing her book sales. Her books have been a “lockdown hit” according to publisher Bloomsbury, and their sales have pushed revenues at the children’s division of the group up more than a quarter in the period.
The Harry Potter author caused a major, and (it seems) never-ending, media storm when she pointed out the campaign to deny that sex was a biological reality was harming women and often denying them safety.
The acclaimed author pointed out that this kind of reaction – being threatened with rape, told to die in a hole, targeted relentlessly by the media, by the drippy actors she made famous and by screaming, hostile trans Twitter mobs – made people terrified to have an opinion. “Huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists; I know this because so many have got in touch with me to tell their stories. They’re afraid of doxxing, of losing their jobs or their livelihoods, and of violence,” she wrote.
Rowling has stood her ground despite those threats: “I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it. I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces,” she said.
The establishment media led the charge against Rowling, accusing her of being ‘anti-trans’ in repeated headlines – with the Washington Post decreeing that “JK Rowling’s transphobia shows it’s time to put down the pen”.
It looks like the media pile-on didn’t work. People still love Rowling’s books and are buying them by the armload.
Bloomsbury said its publishing arm grew sales by 28% to £31.4m during the lockdown – and that the children’s division grew by 27% to £18.7m, with Rowling’s titles being a bestseller. The group’s share price jumped 13% as investors welcomed the “better than expected results.”
“The backlash against JK Rowling’s views on transgender law reform has failed to dent the popularity of the Harry Potter author’s books,” sulked the Guardian (who, of course, tried to manufacture said backlash).
Sometimes sticking by your principles does bring its rewards.