The Harry Potter Series Reaches a Listening Landmark

Harry Potter Series
Books Martin Cid Magazine

Since its launch in 2012, Pottermore has grown from J.K. Rowling’s groundbreaking self-publishing arm to become one of the world’s most successful digital publishing brands. It now enters its second decade in business having reached an extraordinary milestone through its association with Audible. Over one billion hours of the Harry Potter stories have now been listened to on Audible globally, since the audiobooks were first made available there seven years ago. This benchmark shows that listening to the Harry Potter stories is truly a part of everyday life for millions of people around the globe, many of whom return to the audio editions again and again.

The original and beloved narrations of the stories, by Jim Dale (in the North American version), and Stephen Fry (in the UK and rest of the world in English language), were first launched on Audible in November 2015, and have remained top sellers ever since. Over the last seven years, Pottermore Publishing worked with Audible to also release Harry Potter audiobooks in French and German, and to create new Harry Potter audiobooks in Latin-American and Castilian Spanish, Japanese, and Italian. The collaboration has also produced unique audio releases of other Wizarding World titles including The Tales of Beedle the Bard which boasts an all-star cast including Jude Law, Bonnie Wright, and Noma Dumezweni; Harry Potter: A History of Magic performed by Natalie Dormer; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them performed by Eddie Redmayne, and more.

Jennie McCann, Pottermore MD, says: “It continues to astound and delight us that listeners of all kinds have made a permanent place in their lives for these audio stories. The original audiobook narrations are cherished versions of these incredible stories, so we took great care when remastering them from CD to deliver the best sound quality and experience possible for the new generation of listeners. We’re grateful to Audible for taking these iconic recordings and making them brilliantly accessible, and join with them in celebrating this extraordinary and unprecedented milestone.”

Diana Dapito, Head of Consumer Content at Audible said: “The evergreen popularity and insatiable appetite for the Harry Potter audiobooks on Audible is both staggering and, at once, not at all surprising. These unparalleled, beloved stories transport and engage listeners through immersive, powerful audio magic. We are honored to be able to bring Harry Potter to listeners around the globe through our collaboration with Pottermore.”

Stephen Fry, narrator of the UK editions of the audiobooks, says: “These statistics are astonishing. Almost every day someone will come up and tell me how important the audiobooks have been in their lives, and it means the world to me. From the first book, when it was all there was of Harry Potter in the world, to the final novel when the series had confirmed itself as THE publishing phenomenon of our age, the experience was never anything other than a total and eternally surprising joy for me. Hurrah for Harry and hurrah for all those listeners.”

Jim Dale, narrator of the North American editions of the audiobooks, says: “Living with the ever expanding Harry Potter family over these past twenty years has been such a joy. Especially rewarding for me has been the opportunity to touch the lives of so many young people, and the knowledge that my spoken words have brought both comfort and support when needed, and, of course always, so much magic!”

Additional Facts
  • The one billion listening hours figure comes from measured consumption of the Harry Potter books 1-7 in all Audible marketplaces globally, in English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Latin American Spanish, and Castilian Spanish.
  • It takes 117 hours to listen uninterrupted to the series of seven books read by Jim Dale.
  • Hypothetically, one billion hours is the equivalent of 1.14 million years. One billion listening hours represents one person listening to the entire series read by Jim Dale 8,547,009 times!
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