JK Rowling’s book sales ‘slump’ as transphobia row deepens
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The 55-year-old is one of history’s richest authors, with recent predictions claiming she is worth somewhere between $650million (£502m) and $1.2billion (£930m). Recently, however, the Scottish-born writer has been embroiled in bitter wrangles with members of the LGBT+ community after remarks she made in a series of tweets. The fury erupted when she shared an opinion piece from global development site Devex, which said the world should be “creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate”.
Rowling commented on the article in her tweet: “’People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people.
“Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
This riled up members of the LGBT+ community, who claimed the comments were transphobic, and as a result Rowling was attacked from all corners of the globe, although she did receive support from stars of the Harry Potter films, including Robbie Coltrane.
In June, Rowling defended her stance by sharing an essay she wrote that explained how she was a sexual assault survivor.
Following the original dispute, Rowling saw her book sales plummet compared to other authors, reportedly by two thirds, leading many to speculate how much the comments had damaged the author.
Publishing industry trends firm NPD BookScan revealed that after Rowling made the tweets earlier this year, book sales dropped.
Kristen McLean, analyst and executive director of business development at the group, said: “Looking at [Rowling’s] performance against the rest of the market, especially as benchmarked against her performance in 2019 – which was very consistent with the rest of the market – I think she’s down.
“She’s certainly underperforming the rest of the market, comparatively, by two thirds.”
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The misery for Rowling was cemented further after at least four authors quit the literary agency The Blair Partnership they share with her.
In a joint statement, writers Drew Davies, Fox Fisher, and Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir added: “After JK Rowling’s — who is also signed to the agency — public comments on transgender issues, we reached out to the agency with an invitation to reaffirm their stance to transgender rights and equality.
“After our talks with them, we felt that they were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful.
“Freedom of speech can only be upheld if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for underrepresented groups are challenged and changed.”
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Only this week, Rowling found herself back in hot water after she released a new novel under the pen name Robert Galbraith.
‘Troubled Blood’, the latest in a series written by Rowling, reportedly centres around the disappearance of a woman thought to have died at the hands of a “transvestite serial killer”.
Rowling’s initial fame came as a result of Harry Potter, which during the Noughties was turned into eight blockbuster movies, seeing the writer earn millions in royalties.
She has continued to remain in the public eye by speaking out on a variety of issues including on whether Scotland should remain as part of the UK.
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