Scholastic Updates with New Interviews from Key Staff on “Bard,” “Deathly Hallows,” and More

Oct 18, 2008

Posted by: SueTLC


Scholastic, the US publishers of the Harry Potter novels, have updated their website with a host of interviews with key members of the staff responsible for bringing the Harry Potter books to the readers. Contained in the new interviews available here, is confirmation they are creating new anniversary editions for all of the Harry Potter books, new insight of the various processes used in creating the marketing and distribution of the books such as “Deathly Hallows,” as well as an interesting tidbit regarding the amount of paper being used to print the upcoming “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”

Of particular note is the interview with David Saylor (Creative Director for Hardcover books and the one who oversees the art direction used in these books) who provides several fascinating insights and new pieces of information on the art contained in the Scholastic editions. Mr. Saylor was responsible for hiring of artist Mary GrandPre and worked closely with her on all the Harry Potter novels. Noting they are indeed creating anniversary editions for each books, he revealed he was one of the few to read “Deathly Hallows” early and discussed his influence in choosing the various colors used in the cover art to reflect each of the novels (with detail provided on OotP and more). Mr. Saylor also discussed his working relationship with Mary GrandPre when creating the special chapter art.

I’ve always had pretty clear ideas about what might be on the cover
and what objects or characters might be perfect for the chapter
openings. Happily, Mary and I are so attuned that we almost always
agreed about what worked for the covers and chapter openers. I would
list each chapter and give her a suggestion of what I thought she could
portray, along with a few alternate ideas. She mostly went with those
suggestions, but sometimes she would let me know if a particular idea
wasn’t going to make a great illustration. Then Mary would come up with
a different solution.

Other key points from the various interviews include:

From Francine Colaneri, VP Manufacturing and Corporate Purchasing, when speaking on the amount of paper purchased to print the books, came an insight on the amount of paper being used for the books: “The Tales of Beedle the Bard requires 2,222,000 pounds; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows required 15 times as much paper.”

Rachel Coun, Director of Marketing for Trade Hardcover books and the Harry Potter Brand director, reflected on the release parties of the past, including crediting our favorite author for the best idea for marketing a Harry Potter book, as she said: “The most brilliant idea came from Jo Rowling. For Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
Jo wanted to make sure that every fan had the opportunity to read the
book at the same time. A strict on-sale date was established. This date
is what led to the “Midnight Parties” and the unified celebration

Mark Seidenfeld, attorney for Scholastic, said that he has in the past visited the online fan sites and elaborated on the experience with: “Unfortunately, most of the time when I’m going on a fan site it’s to
check out a problem or see the reaction to a problem. So it’s usually
not in the most pleasant context that I’m checking them out. But I am
always taken by the intensity and passion of the fans and their
obsessively detailed knowledge of the series. It’s truly amazing that
one author has created such a craze!”

Kris Moran, Publicity Director, reflected on working with Harry Potter J.K. Rowling over the years, and the changes that took place along the way. Kris spoke of one of her favorite publicity moment with Jo by relaying “…it was the first book signing we went to on the tour
for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in October of
1999. We pulled up to a bookstore and the line had to have been three
blocks long. As we drove up, Jo asked me, in all seriousness, what was
going on ” was there some huge sale? I said “It’s you” and she turned
white. We got out of the car, and kids were chanting her name and
“Harry Potter” ” it literally was like touring with a rock star.”

On a related note, you can read more from Kris Moran and Mark Seidenfeld, via the Harry, A History book website in the Vault 27 section where our own Melissa Anelli discussed spoilers with the team.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.