While most Americans readily admit to having a stash of magazines in the bathroom to peruse, Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling hinted there may be more substantial reading in her water closet. In a recent interview to Oprah’s O Magazine, Rowling admitted her reading fetish by commenting, “I read when I’m drying my hair. I read in the bath. I read when I am sitting in the bathroom. Pretty much anywhere I can do the job one-handed, I read.” Rumors quickly began circulating about her admitted obsession. Lowell Downly, a local pub-owner in rural Edinburgh, Scotland, adopted hometown to the famous children’s author, admitted to seeing Ms. Rowling come into his establishment last month, “with a stack of books in her hand, and heading to the loo.” Calvin Gatherbottom, an intern with Rowling’s UK publisher Bloomsbury, cited during an interview, that Rowling had recently asked for a list of the “hot authors” and for a private bathroom to be installed in her editor’s office. Her editor could not be reached for comment.
So far among the young readers of her famous Harry Potter series, bathroom reading has increased 38%. With the new release of the final installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, readers were indulging while participating in all kinds of necessary activities. Ronald Deaver, a 20 year-old English major at the University of Vermont claims, “I had to get through it in 24 hours, there just wasn’t going to be any stopping. I ate, showered, and yes, even went the bathroom with Harry Potter. I would have done anything while reading the book, there had to be no compromise.”
Mary DiAgresio of the National Council on Bookreading Habits, states that this is not an all-together new phenomena. “When John Grisham revealed his penchant for reading on a bidet”, DiAgresio states, “readership on bidet’s went through the roof according to our stringent market research.” In fact, bidet readership went up a staggering 300% upon the arrival of Grisham’s last novel, and sales of the fountain toilet went up 65%. And these are not the only statistics to see a rise. The NCBH states that since the publication of HPDH, time spent in the bathroom reading has increased as well. “Over the last year, we have seen a distinct rise in the number of minutes, and in some cases hours an individual will spend reading in the bathroom” says DiAgresio. The statistics are alarming. Pre-HPDH, the average reader spent 8.6 minutes in the bathroom reading. Post HPDH, the number has taken a significant rise to 24.5 minutes, and in one case, a man from Maryland, spent a total of two hours and fifty-three minutes in the porcelain temple consuming the Rowling narrative. When asked about his experience, the man simply stated, “I couldn’t stop…reading that is.” Commode sales are on the rise as well. Vince Teeler, manager of a local Home Depot in suburban Atlanta says, “Ever since the publication of THAT book, we haven’t been able to keep a toilet in stock, it’s like people can’t get enough.”
Rowling is notorious for keeping her life private, and her stories even more so, but this recent revelation has had a far reaching effect on her readership. 14-year old Anna Montville, of Holland, Mich. states, “I always read Harry Potter wherever I can, and sometimes that means when I’m taking a number two. But now that I know that J.K. does it too, I’m not ashamed of my secret.”
Readers in Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta have been seen lining up at public restrooms with their copy of Deathly Hallows in tow. Said one reader, who wished to remain anonymous, “If it’s good enough for J.K., it’s good enough for me.”