Public still potty for Potter

May 15, 2010, 12:19 AM GMT+0

JK Rowling’s readership still far outstrips that of Stephenie Meyer, despite all four installments of her hugely successful vampire series Twilight figuring in the top seven best-selling books of the 2000 to 2010 decade, a new survey suggests.

A staggering 38% of the British public have read at least some part of the Harry Potter series, with 36% claiming to have read the first installment – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and a massive 24% having read the last book. In contrast, 13% claim to have read some part of the Twilight series, with six percent affirming that they have read all four books.

Along with a higher readership, those who have read parts of both series fall overwhelmingly on the wizarding side of the Potter/Twilight debate. Of the 23% of the public who felt they had read enough of each series to choose a favourite, the vast majority preferred to read the Harry Potter books over the Twilight books (82%, which equates to 19% of the general public), compared to only 17% who prefer to read the Twilight books (four percent of the general public).

Most striking about the readership of the Twilight and Harry Potter books is the gender distribution of readers. While there is not much difference between the percentage of males and the percentage of females who have read Harry Potter (35% and 42% respectively), only one percent of males claim to have read all four Meyer books, next to a comparatively huge ten percent of females.

With the Twilight series already having broken the Harry Potter books’ record of selling more than a million copies in the first two and half years of release, and both series having inspired vastly popular film adaptations, it seems that Meyer will now have to appeal to a male as well as a female readership if she is to go on to decisively break Potter’s spell on the public.

Survey details and full results