Casual Vacancy’s Expected Sales are Down?


Sep 27, 2012

Posted by Catherine

Hyped as the most anticipated novel of this season, Washington Post has reported that sales may not live up to the hype. The Washington Post blog reports:

But for the most eagerly anticipated book of the year, Politics & Prose had sold only about half a dozen of their 300 copies by the time Oliver was not quite a half a dozen chapters in. That’s about a third of what the store would order for the “Harry Potter” series, but, according to senior book buyer Mark LaFramboise, 20 times more than they usually order for other books. For “Harry Potter’ the store could count on swarms of pre-teens rushing the door at midnight on the day of a new release. For “The Casual Vacancy’ the author’s first adult novel, there have been no such crowds.

The Wall Street Journal blog SpeakEasy suggested that harsh reviews and critical statements may hurt sales.

early reviews may make it harder for J.K. Rowling’s new adult novel “The Casual Vacancy” to generate staying power
on the national best-seller lists. The book, set in a small town in England and
focused on characters involved in a local election, went on sale nationwide
this morning.

The Los Angeles Times reviewer David Ulin noted that “what’s
surprising, given Rowling’s ability to spin a story, is just how unsatisfying
it ultimately becomes.” Elsewhere, Monica Hesse, writing in the Washington
Post, wrote , “Much of the book I admired, even if I didn’t love’ before
concluding that the novel “would be a little better if everyone were carrying

Meghan Cox Gurdon in The Wall Street Journal, however, was
more upbeat, writing that once the novel gets underway, it “becomes a positively
propulsive read.” She adds that the book “may not be George Eliot, but it’s
J.K. Rowling; and that’s pretty good.”

leading independent retailer said the book sold six copies in the first hour on
sale Thursday. “It might be review proof, as many books are’ said Mark
LaFramboise, chief buyer for the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington
D.C. “The curiosity factor is really strong, and there is a built-in audience.
We’re prepared for the book to be very successful.”

It may not
help that the novel is expensive at $17.99 for the e-book edition compared to
$12.99 and $14.99 for many rival best sellers. In hardcover, its recommended
price is $35 although it is widely available online for the discounted price of

style=”font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; “>

We will have more news about sales later this weekend.

21 Responses to Casual Vacancy’s Expected Sales are Down?

Avatar ImageLunaLuver says: Well the proof speaks for itself, and frankly I'm not surprised. She's better doing something Potter related soon if she wants to redeem herself.Avatar Imagesessionka says: There's no way she could live up to the expectations of a 'Harry Potter'. That was once in a lifetime, and I'm glad it was in mine. It's still early. I don't plan on reading it. Not because it's not Harry Potter. Because fantasy is my favorite genre, and this doesn't fit that. All the best Jo!!!!!Avatar Imageethelnorthbrook says: LunaLuver - to redeem herself?! Really? She doesn't have to redeem herself or to prove anything! She is an extremely talented and creative person with one of the best imaginations in the world and she has the natural right to write those books that she wants whether you or anyone else think that she just must stick to Harry Potter!Avatar Imagesiena says: Ethelnorthbrook I totally agree !!! First of all, Luna Lover, you need to choose your words a little more carefully !! Publishing a book that is diffferent from Harry Potter and that may not receive raving reviews is certainly not what I would call a sin she has to seek redemption for !! She is not obliged in any way to stick to something related to Harry Potter at all !! I admire her for taking a risk by writing something entirely diffferent. She could have written prequels/sequels to the Potter saga to cash in more millions but she chose not to because she feels the series stands as it is. What's not to like about that attitude ?? Avatar Imagemoglet says: Yes, I like the fact that she's taking a risk with this, it was something she really wanted to write and something she feels strongly about. The book is not to my taste but I admire her for writing something so different instead of playing safe, Harry Potter has given her the freedom to do this, as she has said, now she can write whatever she feels she wants to, as she doesn't have to worry about paying the bills any more.Avatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: Well, I've picked up my copy and plan to start reading it soon. It doesn't sound like the sort of thing that I usually read, but because it's by JKR I will give it a go. If it turns out not to be to my taste, I shan't mind, but I probably will find something in it to enjoy because it will still have her sensibility behind it. She has told us the story of Harry Potter, and we can re-read it any time we like. It's death to a writer or any artist just to keep trying to do the same thing over and over again. She has to move on where inspiration takes her.Avatar ImageViurre says: I have a deep seated feeling that I may be a "Harry Potter" fan but not necessarily a JKR fan. Not that she might not come up with a non-HP book I might read someday, but I agree with Sessionka, in that this book not my favorite genre, which is fantasy, a major reason I am not reading it, at least not "new". I am also still feeling a bit down about the death of my sister recently, and too many reviews stated this book was grim and depressing. I am not the sort to just run out and buy it because it is JKR's book. And I like the HP series too much to accept anything less magickal from her when I know what she is capable of. Yes, I am holding her to a high standard, but she put herself there. I have nothing but good to say about the HP series, both books and films. I do agree she has a right to exercise her creativity in different venues. But why does it have to be all or nothing? I might even be more open to read something non-HP from her if I knew something HP was coming in the future. I guess, as I said, I am more a Harry Potter fan than her fan, if that is possible...Avatar ImageHermioneGrangerrules says: i agree with Ethelnorthbrook i mean come on LunaLuver redeem herself? she's an awesome author and i plan on reading the casual vacancy. it may not be fantasy which is my fav genre but JK Rowling is my fav author. and i know i may sound stupid but what difference does it make if it hasn't sold many copies or if it's not your favorite genre but to most now i understand why some wont read but that doesnt mean she needs to "redeem herself" (sorry if i sound stuck up but this is what i think)Avatar ImageHermioneGrangerrules says: i agree with Ethelnorthbrook i mean come on LunaLuver redeem herself? she's an awesome author and i plan on reading the casual vacancy. it may not be fantasy which is my fav genre but JK Rowling is my fav author. and i know i may sound stupid but what difference does it make if it hasn't sold many copies or if it's not your favorite genre but to most now i understand why some wont read but that doesnt mean she needs to "redeem herself" (sorry if i sound stuck up but this is what i think)Avatar ImageBillieMac says: I have a very broad range of interests for my reading, and political thriller is in that range. [i]The Casual Vacancy[/i] was at an introductory sale price at London Drugs today (under $25 Can.), and it's off to a promising start for me. I probably won't getbeyond the first chapter before Monday, as I'm at a convention, but so far I'm finding it a good read. Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: Well, lets see what she comes up with next...Avatar ImageEeyore says: Interestingly enough, I've discoverd that even though I love Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and Narnia, it's not because I'm a fantasy fan. I love all sorts of books, especially ones that have well defined characters. I bought The Casual Vacancy on Thursday and have started reading and so far, it's good. I think the hardest thing is not constantly thinking about the author instead of the story. But now that I'm getting into it, I'm getting past just thinking about JKR. To say that she has to redeem herself is just pure nonsense. She wrote a fantastic series of books that we all love and she could have just stopped there. I think it would have been a huge mistake if she had tried to add on to the Harry legacy or if she had tried to create another one like it. Other authors and movie makers have tried to do that and it usually becomes clear that the first story of that type was the best. I'm glad to see that Rowling is willing to take a risk and do something different. Some readers may have tried to pigeonhole her style but she's not doing it to herself - and good for her in making that choice. I wish her all the best and hope that she continues to write many more books. I would hate to think that someone as talented as Rowling would only have one good book to her name like Margaret Mitchell did with Gone with the Wind. Rowling deserves the chance to do more, not snide narrow-minded and thoughtless comments like the one from lunaluver.Avatar ImageHermioneGrangerrules says: i agree Eeyore it would have been a mistake because i like the way she kept everyones creativity going but not telling what happens after the 19 years later i kno we can all (and by all i mean the people on leaky) that JK Rowling is an awesome writer Avatar ImageG.Weasley says: I think the reason that people are so disappointed and not that impressed with the Casual Vacancy is because it isn't Harry Potter, it didn't live up to their expectations. I'm not talking about writing style I'm talking more about imagination style, I think everyone expected something wild and fantastic and instead got something that isn't anywhere close to Harry Potter. Saying that, I'm not saying that it's a bad book but that it's just different from what everyone expected.Avatar Imageethelnorthbrook says: Well, it's their problem, isn't it? You can't restrict a writer! Let her write what she wants! In any case, you can't please everyone. If Jo wrote another Harry Potter book, I'm sure there would be a mass of people who would be disappointed too, because it would not be what they expected. It's always like that. I remember how people complained about the Deathly Hallows and Nineteen Years Later. Good luck, Jo! I love your new book, because you have an amazing way with words and characterisation. Avatar ImageBeazle says: Ethelnorthbrook- I can't believe any one could actually love Casual Vacancy. I have actually read all of it- it is simply dreadful.Avatar ImageBeazle says: TO be specific- I have now finished this trashy, foul mouthed book. It is full of cliches and 1970s outdated generalisations. As ever- heavy on the adverbs but the plot is so predictable as to be almost laughably inept. It is not a pleasant experience to read this book. So, so disappointing on a number of levels. Avatar Imageethelnorthbrook says: Well, that's your opinion, isn't it? Please, don't tell me what to think! Reading books is extremely subjective. I haven't finished reading it yet, but I find it interesting and engaging and, even if it is not the kind of a book to be my favourite, I do love Jo's writing style and as a writer I understand why she would want/need to write it. As for adverbs - I could never see what the problem is - I love adverbs and I'm glad that she keeps using them! Avatar ImageRavenclaw78 says: This is the review I left on GoodReads about The Casual Vacancy. I told one of my friends I was still waiting for Hogwarts: A History since I constantly forget that it's not a real book! LOL! I wanted SO much to like this book. I started into it knowing it wasn't going to be anything like Harry Potter; although I can't lie, I was secretly hoping the next turn of a page would offer a message like "PSYCH!! The next 400 pages are all about Harry!" Sadly, that didn't happen and for other reasons I'm doing one of those things I so rarely condone and am stopping this book. Let me back up - I was, like so many others, anticipating this book so much I could nearly taste it. I'd had it preordered on my Nook for months, as soon as ordering it was an option, and then went to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy in hardback because I wanted a first edition. I got into Harry as a late teen, thanks to kids that I used to babysit, whom are now nearly grown themselves. I only say that to intimate that I am not a teenager, young adult, etc, but a 30-something year-old who, admittedly reluctantly, acknowledges that Harry Potter is not real. I know life isn't always rosy and I am not completely naive to the ways of the world. All I can say, so far, is that this book is so boring, I'm struggling to get through it at all! I wouldn't mind an abuse scene at this point just so something would happen. As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is heavy on the adjectives, which in Rowling's fantasy work were well-placed and beautifully knitted a story. In The Casual Vacancy though, they seem to just weigh this book down. Also, there's been a lot of discussion about the foul language in the book. Personally, I have no problem with dropping the F bomb and I use it as often and creatively as possible in my life. However, it seems that with the vulgar language in the book, as with the adjectives, it's just there because it can be, not because it adds anything to the story or defines the characters any better. At first I thought the over use of the f word was for shock value, but Rowling has managed to make me numb to it as a word at all. I'm not saying I'm giving up on this book completely, but I am dropping it for now. Maybe when the power goes out and I've read every other book I've ever thought about reading, I will pick this one back up. For now, all it has been good for is putting me to sleep!Avatar ImageRavenclaw78 says: I'd like to add that the review is my OPINION & do not, by any stretch of the imagination, think others would dislike the book. I'm so happy for others who do enjoy it and I don't begrudge JKR ONE BIT for writing this book! I think it took bravery and guts to publish this book under her own name & I have the utmost respect for her! Just because I didn't enjoy the book doesn't mean that I dislike Jo, her work, or anyone that loves The Casual Vacancy. If we all had the same taste about everything, the world would be a very boring place!Avatar ImageHermioneGrangerrules says: really Beazle? trashy? foul-mouthed? I mean come on! just because it isn't harry potter doesn't mean you can say things like that. I for one will read because Jo is my favorite author! (again, I apolagize if i sound stuck-up)

Write a Reply or Comment

Finding Hogwarts

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.