Rowling is back on top of the Forbes' list of the highest-earning authors for the first time in 11 years.
Forbes’ annual list, compiled data from print, e-book and audio sales data, television and film earnings and industry expert opinion, estimates that the 52 year old author earned $95 million in the twelve months to May 31st 2017 – more than $180 per minute.
This figure was largely driven by the book-form sale of the manuscript for new play, ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, which sold more 680,000 print copies in its first three days of sale in the UK when it was released last summer. It was the fastest-selling book since the publication of the final Harry Potter novel in 2007.
JK Rowling is the world's highest-earning author once again
Those earnings have been supplemented with the film release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November 2016, for which Rowling wrote the script. Bloomsbury, her original publishers, have also been releasing illustrated editions of the Harry Potter novels in order to mark their 20th anniversary.
The list’s compiler, Hayley Cuccinello, attributed the boom in Rowling’s earnings to the stage and screen. “But unless Rowling releases another bestselling book in time for next year’s list,” she remarked, “her earnings will almost certainly dip dramatically and she’ll likely relinquish first place.”
Rowling last topped the list in 2006, and she pushed thriller author James Patterson into second place, who earned $87 million. ‘Wimpy Kid’ author Jeff Kinney came in third, a long way behind with $21 million in earnings, while in fourth place was Dan Brown with $20 million because of a reported eight-figure advance for his new Robert Langdon thriller coming next month.
In a top ten dominated by Americans, there are two other British writers other than Rowling. Paula Hawkins, behind ‘The Girl On the Train’, earned $13 million, and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ novelist EL James earned $11.5 million.