Hobbit copies fly off the shelves

TOM HUNT
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Emily Nicholson,  9, from Roseneath, checks out The Hobbit books at The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie
CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
TASTE OF TOLKIEN: Emily Nicholson, 9, from Roseneath, checks out The Hobbit books at The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie.

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The print version of The Hobbit is riding a wave of success on the back of Sir Peter Jackson's film adaptation.

The movie earned more than $2 million in its opening weekend in New Zealand, kicking James Bond flick Skyfall out of the No 1 spot. The movie has made more than US$200m (NZ$237m) worldwide since its release.

But sales of JRR Tolkien's 1937 book have been booming too. The Children's Bookshop owner John McIntyre said there was an increase of about 30 per cent when it was announced that the book was being made into a movie, then a further 50 per cent increase around the premiere.

He understood many parents were buying the book for their children before taking them to the movie so they could form their own mental picture of Middle-earth, free of the film's influence.

HarperCollins, publisher of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, said sales of Tolkien-related titles had rocketed by more than 14 times since November.

Emily Nicholson, 9, of Roseneath, was given the tale to read by mum Cassie Nicholson, before the movie came out, "so that she can come to it with her own pictures in her head".

"And because she says to me, movies always simplify things so she liked knowing it [through the book] first."

Mrs Nicholson had fond memories of her father reading The Hobbit to her when she was a child.

Like her mum, reading The Hobbit led Emily into the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although her parents are waiting until she is a little older to let her see the movie adaptations.

Unity Books co-owner Tilly Lloyd said the Willis St store had seen a spike in sales of the book. It had about 30 editions of The Hobbit, all of which were selling well.

A lot of teenagers were using their own money to buy the book. "As they are reading it, they are using their imagination to make their own movie," Ms Lloyd said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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