Last week, Bloomsbury Publishing’s Academic imprint published Phillip W. Errington’s J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013), offering fascinating insight into the publishing of Harry Potter.
Chronicling the literary history of J.K. Rowling’s works, the book features every edition of Rowling’s books, from the first edition of Philosopher’s Stone to The Cuckoo’s Calling. Along with descriptions of the individual editions, the bibliography includes edits and corrections made by Rowling and her editors, as well as extensive quotes from Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive officer of Bloomsbury Publishing.
The author of the bibliography, Phillip Errington, spent five years gathering the information that fills the 544-page volume. He spent time in Bloomsbury archives, speaking with anyone involved in the series from the early days until today.
Bloomsbury’s website advertises the book with the following synopsis:
This is the definitive bibliography of the writings of J. K. Rowling. In addition to complete bibliographic details of each edition of all her books, pamphlets and original contributions to published works, there is detailed information on the publishing history of her work, including fascinating extracts from correspondence, and information on Rowling at auction. This will be the first source on Rowling consulted by textual scholars, book dealers and collectors, auction houses, critics and researchers. The aim of the book is to record fact and dispel rumour on the fascinating publishing history of the Harry Potter series.
J.K. Rowling herself praised the book, saying, “As someone who respects comprehensive research, I am in awe of the level of detail and amount of time Philip Errington has dedicated to this slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling bibliography.”
The Guardian offered highlights of the book in their review, including J.K. Rowling’s revelation of alternative titles for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — Harry Potter and the Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet and Harry Potter and the Three Champions. In addition, Errington shares many notable stories in the book, like the handing over of the manuscript for Order of the Phoenix.
[Christopher] Little [J.K. Rowling’s agent, 1997-2011] summoned [Nigel] Newton [C.E.O. of Bloomsbury] to The Pelican pub in Fulham for a drink, he told Errington – Newton knew the meeting could be significant, as the location was where Little had delivered the previous book to Bloomsbury. “So I drove to The Pelican, a pub off the Fulham Road not far from Stamford Bridge, in a state of high alert. And I went in and there was a massive Sainsbury’s plastic carrier bag at this feet … he said nothing about that and I said nothing and he just said ‘Drink?’ and I said, ‘a pint, please’. So we stood at the bar and drank our pints and said nothing about Harry Potter. But when we left I walked out with the carrier bag. It was a classic dead letter drop,” said Newton.
For likewise stories, purchase J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) from Bloomsbury Publishing today, £67.50. The book will be available from April 23 in the United States, $128. If you are interested, pre-order the book here.