First published in 1997, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter changed the landscape for children's publishing, in terms of sales figures, bestseller status, and book length. The Harry Potter books are cross-over titles, which means that even though they are published as children's books, their appeal extends to adult readers as well, and this might explain how members of the "Harry Potter Generation," who grew up with a book released each year, continue to participate in Harry Potter fandom. The world-building within the series lends itself exceptionally well to various fan-based activities, from fan fiction, to festivals, to charitable works, each of which are expanding into areas with adult appeal. Protective of the books and their characters, J.K. Rowling (and related corporate entities) have not always been supportive of such fan activities. Yet arguably, the fans' ongoing immaterial and affective labor (Terranova, 2000) around the series is largely responsible for its success. This talk presents an in-progress monograph, which examines how and why fans contribute their labor in support of Harry Potter, and the ensuing tensions between fans and the corporations who own him.
Martens is an iSchool research fellow and assistant professor of library and information science at Kent State University. Her research covers the interconnected fields of youth services librarianship and publishing, and the impact of interactive reading technologies. Previously, she was vice president of North-South Books in New York. Martens is the author of Publishers, Readers, and Digital Engagement (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be recorded.
This event is sponsored by The Center for Children's Books