Audible has announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (writing as magizoologist Newt Scamander) and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne is now available as a digital audiobook. The digital audio features a number of extras, including text revisions and updates by Rowling that introduce six new beasts and a new foreword by Scamander. It is being published by Pottermore, Rowling’s digital entertainment, news, and e-commerce company, with a release date of March 14. The title is also available now for pre-order at Audible.
Potterphiles know that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one of the approved textbooks for students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is oft-mentioned in Rowling’s Harry Potter titles. In 2001 Rowling created a print version of the book for Muggles, along with Quidditch Through the Ages (writing as Kennilworthy Whisp), a popular volume in the Hogwarts library, as a special project. Services to publish the two titles were donated, (including from Scholastic in the U.S.) so that all proceeds from the sale of both books could go to a fund set up in Harry Potter’s name by Comic Relief U.K. and J.K. Rowling to benefit children in need throughout the world. Following in those philanthropic footsteps, Pottermore will donate a portion of the proceeds from the audiobook to Comic Relief U.K. and to Rowling’s international charity, Lumos.
More recently, Fantastic Beasts was the inspiration for last year’s box-office hit of the same name starring Redmayne as Scamander and featuring a screenplay penned by Rowling. Warner Bros. has planned Fantastic Beasts as a five-film franchise and the next installment is due out November 16, 2018.
While doing the recording of the book at Audible, Redmayne told the company about his experience bringing his interpretation of Scamander into the studio. “Before I was cast in the film, [director] David Yates told me about Newt and this textbook,” he said. “I found it so funny and so enchanting and really wittily written. But it wasn’t until I started reading it out loud for the audiobook that I realized how tricky and poetic J.K. Rowling’s use of sounds and language can be. There are some really great tongue twister words in here! Occasionally, I had to stop recording just because I was incapable of saying the words without either laughing or getting my tongue in a muddle. I enjoyed the challenge and hope listeners can sense that in my narration.”
Audible first made the original seven Harry Potter titles available to its members in 2015, and they got off to a fast start: between November 20, 2015 and March 31, 2016, one million total units of the Harry Potter digital audiobooks were sold via audible.com, audible.co.uk, audible.de and audible.com.au. And since then, according to Andy Gaies, Audible chief content officer, “they have been consistently among the highest rated, most downloaded, and most listened to audiobooks in our store.”