Books: Harry Potter
I'm going to confess; I have never read a single word of the "Harry Potter" books. I was considering giving them a try (mostly to start a conversation with a girl I was interested in who was a diehard fan), but got sidetracked into Narnia and His Dark Materials instead. So, when the final book got over half a million preorders, I didn't bat an eye.
I have seen a couple of the "Harry Potter" movies, though, so I'm not totally unfamiliar with Rowling's world. I've also seen the bookmarks, the oversized wizard hats, the Harry Potter action figures, the sticker books...The range of merchandise puts other children's fantasies to shame.
I wonder if such things could exist without the success of the "Harry Potter" movies. It seems to me that even a classic work of fantasy, like "The Lord of the Rings," never has widespread licensing potential until someone makes a popular movie out of it. Disappointing, really...I could've used an R. Daneel Olivaw action figure.