This article focuses on publishing sensations across time and culture by drawing a line between the publication of M. E. Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret in 1861-2 and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (1997-2007). In presenting case studies we draw out similarities in the production, reception and circulation of these texts and highlight their shared writing and reading contexts. We contend that these texts, although they were launched into discrete literary cultures and markets which seem worlds apart, shared significant elements in both their production and consumption, especially in relation to fandom and the ways in which new media were seized and used to recirculate and 'own' both authors and texts. In thus looking longitudinally we uncover motifs of reiteration as well as alteration in literary cultures. This casts the long twentieth century in publishing, which is often represented in terms of a crisis-fuelled thrust towards literary innovation and new markets, as a time of concurrent change and continuity.