One of the most commercially successful authors of all time, British novelist J.K. Rowling is best known as the creator of the Harry Potter series of children’s fantasy novels, and her estimated present net worth in excess of $800 million dollars makes her one of the wealthiest women in Britain.
J.K. Rowling Net Worth
Rowling was named to the Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires in 2011, but apparently lost her official billionaire status due to a combination of $160 million worth of charitable donations and the crippling tax laws of Britain.
Rowling was born Joanne Rowling on July 31, 1965 in the quaint-sounding English town of Chipping Sodbury, UK. Considered to be a precocious child, her earliest childhood dreams were of growing up to become a writer. Upon graduation from the University of Exeter, Rowling continued her studies in Paris before returning to London to work for Amnesty International.
Rowling eventually accepted a job teaching English in Portugal, where she met her first husband. The marriage ended two years later in divorce, and Rowling returned to Britain as an impoverished single mother.
Struggling to maintain both home and dignity while living on the public welfare rolls, Rowling continued to fashion her story around a character she named Harry Potter, who she says appeared to her one memorable day in 1990 as a fully developed character. Convinced by her agent that the book would sell better without a woman’s name attached to it, Rowling created the pen name of J.K. Rowling. As she has no middle name, she chose to honor her grandmother by adopting the “K” for Kathleen.
Following a number of heartbreaking rejections from the publishing community, Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in Britain in 1997, and in the United States one year later as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Harry Potter clicked with the buying public in a big way; within three years, the first three books in the series had sold over 35 million copies. Subsequent books have continued the Harry Potter success story, with the sixth title, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, selling almost seven million copies in the U.S. within 24 hours of its release, the biggest debut in publishing history.
J.K. Rowling Spending:
- Her primary residence is a luxurious mansion in Edinburgh, Scotland.
- She recently bought one of the neighboring properties for $1.3 million, which she will have demolished in order to make room for her extensive gardens.
- Owns another multi-million dollar estate in Perthshire, Scotland.
- Bought a luxury home in Kensington, West London.
- Owns two properties in Tasmania, Australia. One was recently purchased for $10 million and will be used as a family retreat.
J.K. Rowling Earnings:
- Rowling has an annual income estimated at $192,000,000.
- Book publishing royalties are one of the largest sources of her income.
- Motion picture rights are another notable income stream.
- Merchandising royalties related to the Harry Potter name and characters provide yet another revenue stream that will no doubt continue for many years to come.