Harry Potter books finally going digital

Author JK Rowling announces that the e-books will be sold exclusively through her Pottermore website.

By Kim Peterson Jun 23, 2011 11:37AM
Pottermore has been revealed, and the secret is a bit of a letdown.

J.K. Rowling announced Thursday that her Harry Potter books will be available as audio downloads and digital e-books in October. The mysterious Pottermore website, which had teased Harry Potter fans for days, will be the only place to buy them.

The announcement falls a little flat for fans who had expected breakthrough news, perhaps maybe an online Harry Potter role-playing game. But Pottermore will have some new material: Rowling has reportedly written 18,000 words for the site, which will also feature games, social networking and an online store.

Pottermore is significant for the bookselling business. On Amazon's Harry Potter page, you can buy Harry Potter cookbooks, soundtracks, toys, costumes and even watches, but you can't buy digital versions of the seven novels.

The Potter series was one of the highest-profile holdouts against digital publishing, the Associated Press reports.

You can see more about the Pottermore website in the following video.

Post continues below:
"You can't hold back progress," Rowling said. "E-books are here, and they are here to stay."

But Rowling isn't going through Amazon (AMZN) and other online retailers. Instead, she retains more control -- and profit -- by limiting the books to the Pottermore site, though the e-books will be compatible with the Kindle, the iPad and other devices.

Rowling has partnered with Sony (SNE) for the technology part of the website, and Sony products could eventually be offered in the online store.

Book retailers were not happy with the news. "We're therefore disappointed that, having been a key factor in the growth of the Harry Potter phenomenon since the first book was published, the book trade is effectively banned from selling the long-awaited e-book editions," said a spokesman for Britain's Waterstone's chain, according to the AP.

The site will open in test form to 1 million users on July 31 (Harry Potter's birthday) and to all users in October.

1Comment
Jul 16, 2011 7:31AM
avatar

I was turned off that she didn't have them in ebook format.  Too late for me, JK!  I bought the books only because they were authentic.  There are PLENTY of Harry Potter transcribed "ebooks" floating around on the internet already.  Too late for a lot of other people, JK!

And I mean JK Rowling, not just kidding!

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