The book was a big success. By March of 1999, 300,000 copies had been sold in the United Kingdom. Rowling sold the novel to Scholastic, who released it under the title "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," in the United States, for more than $100,000, an unusual sum at the time. It became one of the best-selling children's books of all time, with sales of over 40 million copies worldwide.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was also the first book in what is now a multi-billion dollar franchise. It has been translated into 27 languages and is available in over 70 countries.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released on November 25, 1997. It spent four weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and was ranked number one in 1998.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released on February 4, 1998. It too spent four weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and was ranked number one in its category in 1998.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on April 20, 1999. It too spent four weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and was ranked number one in its category in 1999.
September 1, 1998 Scholastic, the American publisher of the novels, published it as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on September 1, 1998, after Rowling paid US $105,000 for the American rights—a record price for a children's book by an unknown author. The first print run was one million books.
Around the world, the first book in the series sold over 70 million copies and was translated into 56 languages. It has been called "the best-selling children's book of all time" and "the biggest publishing event of our time".
Rowling had written three chapters of the first novel before selling the manuscript to Scholastic. She received $65,000 up front with another $40,000 due when the contract was finished.
The editor in chief at the time, Judith Curley, says she felt that there were not enough magical story lines for young readers and that the market was not being served well by existing brands at the time. He also noted that Scholastic wanted to reach more affluent families who might otherwise not be interested in reading fiction. Finally, he said that they believed that Harry Potter would be a success like The Baby-Sitters Club books which had recently been successful for Scholastic.
It is projected that overall revenue from book sales would be roughly $7.7 billion. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first novel in the series, has sold over 120 million copies, making it one of the best-selling novels in history. It was also the fastest-selling book in North America when it was released in July 2001.
The book made its author, J K Rowling, a wealthy woman; she has said that she spends most of her income on books. In 2015, she announced that she had joined the board of directors at Facebook.
Rowling's other bestselling works include children's books which are based on the wizarding world she created: The Wizarding World series (which includes Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). These have been published in conjunction with Christopher Littleley's art work. The seven novels have combined sales of more than 60 million copies, making them one of the biggest success stories in children's literature.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was also successful among adults; it has been cited as an influence on people all over the world who call themselves "muggles" (the term used by the general public for wizards). The book has been translated into 57 languages and has been adapted for film, television and live performance.