So surely the first editor who opened a box and saw this manuscript called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone must have immediately started shitting dollar signs, right?
Not even close.
Author J.K. Rowling might have approximately all of the money now, but things didn't start out that way. Once upon a time, Rowling was living off of government assistance, retyping complete copies of the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to send out to publishers because she was too broke to have photocopies made. So she sent off her precious slaved-over copies of the manuscript to publishing houses, where they promptly went into the trash.
"After careful consideration, we've decided to release the hounds."
The first several publishers she tried rejected it outright, all for the same reason: It was far too long for a children's book. Now, we feel it's important to interject here that, at 320 pages for the U.S. paperback edition, the first book is the shortest of the kajillions-sold series, with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix topping out at close to three times that length. So not only was 320 pages not too much for the fragile brains of modern children, but they read six other, longer episodes -- 4,224 pages to be exact.