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Pop Culture Expert Suggests Technology Is Pushing the Popularity of ‘The Hunger Games’ Past Harry Potter

As the “Hunger Games” trilogy outsells the Harry Potter series on, a UC pop culture expert lends insight into why Katniss is more popular than the teen wizard, Harry Potter.

Date: 9/5/2012
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
The technology wave of the E-book is outdoing the wizardry of Harry Potter when comparing sales of the seven-book Potter series with “The Hunger Games” trilogy, according to a University of Cincinnati pop culture expert.  Rebecca Sutherland Borah, a UC associate professor of English and comparative literature, has followed the fan base of both of the book series.
Rebecca Sutherland Borah
Rebecca Sutherland Borah recently reported that the “Hunger Games” trilogy had outsold the seven-book Harry Potter series, making “The Hunger Games” saga the best-selling book series of all time on

“A knowledgeable, maturing fan base and technology have helped push ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy past Harry Potter to the top of Amazon’s list,” Borah says.  “Both series managed to capture the zeitgeist for their audiences, but ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy also caught the technology wave of E-books, which account for a sizable share of Amazon’s sales of that series.

“Harry Potter – and to a certain extent the ‘Twilight’ saga – primed the pump of fan culture,” adds Borah. “First comes the book and the joy of reading it, but then enjoying it with friends and other readers in person and online builds anticipation for the next book and the movie. This pattern cycles through with each book and crescendos with the release of the subsequent movie(s). 

“For a group of readers – especially tech-savvy teens accustomed to instant information and communication via the Internet – ‘The Hunger Games’ was made for sharing, discussing  and imagining as fans,” Borah says. “Fan communities have matured since Harry Potter first hit shelves. They now have more expectations and demands. There is no need to sign up for a library wait list because you can download it. No friends to talk to about the latest book or who to cast in the next movie?  Just go online, and you’re connected to other fans through official and unofficial websites, social networks and fan communities.

“Publishers, merchandisers, movie makers and even educators also have the pattern down and can fully exploit fan behavior for their own ends. Want a t-shirt with a character? Want a fan video featuring a minor character you love? Want a picture of the character in Manga style? It’s all there online,” says Borah.

Meanwhile, filming started this month for the “Hunger Games” sequel, “Catching Fire,” which is due in theaters by autumn 2013.