“Harry Potter” continues to be magic at the box office – and on bookshelves. J.K. Rowling, the author of the seven-book series about the young wizard’s battles about the evil Voldemort, earned $300 million in the year between June 1, 2007 and June 1, 2008, placing her on top of Forbes magazine’s list of this year’s best-paid authors.
Overall, Rowling is reportedly a billionaire, with over 375 million copies of the series selling worldwide. The film adaptations have made a total of $4.5 billion at the box office, with three left to go, continuing with next summer’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
Second on the list is prolific author James Patterson, who has reportedly earned $50 million over the 12 month period. His novels, which include “Along Came a Spider” and “Sail,” have sold a total of over 150 million copies worldwide, and he’s branched into other mediums with his “Women’s Murder Club” series, which was both a short-lived ABC TV show and a video game.
Stephen King places third on this year’s tally, earning a reported $45 million thanks to his deep catalog of novels, film adaptations and his pop culture column, “The Pop Of King,” for Entertainment Weekly.
In fourth is Tom Clancy, who reportedly earned $35 million this year. Like Patterson, his work has been translated into video games; in March, game developer Ubisoft announced an agreement to attain all rights to the Clancy name and its associated products after collaborating with him on games including “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.”
His books, including “The Hunt for the Red October” and “Patriot Games,” have also been made into a number of successful films.
Novelist Danielle Steel places fifth with a reported $30 million. Her latest work is “A Good Woman.”
Rounding out this year’s list are “The Notebook” scribe Nicholas Sparks, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Dean Koontz and Ken Follett, who saw a sales surge when Oprah Winfrey chose his 1989 novel, “Pillars of the Earth,” for her book club.