Bestseller lists are imperfect by nature, able to show how many people bought a book, but not necessarily who read the books they bought. Earlier this month, Amazon offered a solution to this dilemma in the form of Amazon Charts, a new weekly bestseller list that not only calculates the most-sold books of the week, but also the most-read (based on daily numbers for Kindle and Audible). And if there’s one thing the list has to tell us so far, it’s that people are still reading Harry Potter a lot.
Of the top 20 “most read” Amazon Chart titles this week, six are Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix, Sorcerer’s Stone, Goblet of Fire, Deathly Hallows and Half-Blood Prince. (Chamber of Secrets is the only book in the original series not to crack the top 20.) Despite that success, none of the Potter books land on the “most sold” list, which is dominated — as is “most read” — by Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (now a popular series on Hulu). More recent releases featured on both lists include Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water and Mark Sullivan’s Beneath a Scarlet Sky.
It seems Potter books are always popular, but with author J.K. Rowling routinely making headlines for her critiques of President Donald Trump and the books often being used as a comparison point for many Trump detractors, Potter feels as relevant as ever. As Rebecca Nicholson wrote for The Guardian in March, “What Harry Potter has given a generation is a simple tale of good triumphing over evil, and, as a result, it has been a frequent and controversial point of reference in these times of political divisiveness.”