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Rediff.com  » News » Potter magic earns Rowling 125 million pounds

Potter magic earns Rowling 125 million pounds

November 03, 2003 09:27 IST

J K Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, has earned 125 million pounds in the past year from the bestseller book, making her the richest paid author in history.

Thanks to the novel, she takes the highest spot achieved by a woman on the Sunday Times Pay List published on Sunday.

Her earnings in the past year are equivalent to 388 pounds for every word of her latest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

According to the Sunday Times, literary agents say she is an 'absolute phenomenon' compared with other authors. Her nearest rival this year is Jackie Collins, who sold more than 400 million books and made 10 million pounds.

Last week Rowling returned from Spain after she received one of that country's top honours, the Prince of Asturias award for Concord, which came with a cheque for another 35,000 pounds.

Her novels have just been translated into 61st language, Scottish Gaelic, and she has sold 230 million books worldwide.

As well as the royalties -- almost 2 pounds a copy for hardback editions -- her money has come from the film rights to the books and a percentage of the sales of everything from school rulers to pillows bearing images of her boy hero.

Philip Beresford, who compiles the Pay List said, "She is a money-making machine. The temptation to keep writing after she has finished the last of her seven planned Potter adventures must be irresistible. She could be the first billionaire author in history."

She has soared above other writers in terms of earnings, if not sales. Mystery book writer Agatha Christie, who died in 1976, has now sold 2 billion books but her 'earnings' last year in royalties amounted to about 5 million pounds. Apart from Murder on the Orient Express, she missed out on the money from film and television adaptations.

The Potter effect is seen elsewhere in the Pay List. Christopher Little, who is as Rowling agent collects 15 per cent of her earnings, makes it to number 37 with an income of 18.75 million pounds and Daniel Radcliffe, 14, who plays the part of Harry on the big screen, earned 1.75 million pounds, making him the youngest entrant.

The Pay List is topped by Roman Abramovich, 37, the Russian oligarch, who made 564 million pounds in the past year. Philip Green, the British retail billionaire in fourth position, is likely to receive a dividend cheque of more than 200 million pounds from his BHS chain this week.

In comparison, the Duke of Westminister, 51, who topped the 2003 Rich List with a property empire worth 4.9 billion pounds is 135th in the Pay List after receiving dividends of 5.8 million pounds.

Footballers, supermodels and pop stars are joined by Orlando Bloom, 26, whose roles in such films as Pirates of Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl have earned him 6 million pounds and Paula Radcliffe, 29, whose 1.8 million pounds from marathon running means she is the first track and field athlete to make the List.

Jane Austen earned 600 pounds in her lifetime. Emily and Anne Bronte did not sell enough copies to earn royalties and their sister Charlotte sold the copyright for her novels to her publisher for 1,500 pounds.

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