It has been a long wait, but now it has happened. Pottermore is now selling the complete Harry Potter collection in ebook format, and selling them via almost all online ebook sellers. The notable exception being iTunes, the Apple online ebook store. I have no idea why they are not included, but that is how it is. However, don’t worry, you will still be able to read them on your iPad I assume, merely buy them from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, Pottermore itself or any of the other online ebook stores who do sell them.
In a break with the normal way of selling and protecting ebooks, Pottermore are selling the entire collection in a DRM free form – well almost DRM free. What they have done is bunged a small bit of software into the ebooks, which they call a Watermark, so that they can see who purchased the individual ebook which will enable them to identify who the pirate is if any of these ebooks hit the illegal market. And then the sky will presumably fall on the head of the individual who copied and sold the ebook illegally online.
At last we can read our ebooks on any ereader.
What is revolutionary about this approach is that it means that if you buy one or more of these ebooks, you can move them from device to device, lend them to friends, given them away and so on, just as you would with a paper book – all of which are impossible with normally DRM protected ebooks, which will only work on your own ereader, and no where else. The only restriction is that you may not copy them and sell them online.
Charles Redmayne, CEO of Pottermore, says that “Harry Potter” books are probably the most pirated in the world already, even though – or rather because – there have been no legal electronic versions until now. Fans have scanned or even re-typed the printed books to make them available in electronic form.
“We believe that people should have the right, once they’ve bought the book, to read it on any device that they chose to,”
Note: I have just seen that Nate on his blog (the Digital Reader – link below) has had DRM problems with loading one of these ebooks he bought, so we shall have to hold judgment on how real the “non DRM” thing really is.
All sounds most reasonable, however, a more likely reason they have gone this route is that it will enable them to own their customers, or at least, build up a solid relationship with them, and keep them buying from and using the Pottermore site, and this is certainly one way to achieve that goal, as he says:
“It’s a very valuable thing to us to own that customer relationship. It gives us a tremendous opportunity to create new products that we can sell to those consumers around the Harry Potter brand,”
Not everywhere yet.
As ever, for some reason, we are confronted yet again with the horrible geographical limitation policy here, as you will see from what they say on the Pottermore site:
“We have partnered with the following services to make it easy to send your Harry Potter eBook to your account. (Subject to reading service availability in your country.): Sony Reader online account (US and Canadian based customers only). Amazon Kindle (available in most countries). Barnes & Noble NOOK (US and Canadian based customers only). Google Play (This service is currently available in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The accounts are linked during the download process … Please note you can link to one account per reading service.”
But there are enough different sellers for you to probably buy your Harry Potter ebooks more or less wherever you live……. But still a stupid and annoying situation.
Amazon out of the loop:
Amusingly, if you go to Amazon to buy your Potter ebooks, you will be taken to the Pottermore site to make the actual purchase, it seems that Rowlings was not prepared to pay Amazon the percentage they required, so rather than lose the entire sale, Amazon have plumped to at least get the referral fee by these means. Interesting way of putting Amazon firmly in their place, and long overdue – an idea that more publishers should perhaps give thought to?
So, now you know, after months of holding your breath, Pottermore is finally up and running, and the shop has opened its doors, and how!
Prices: Some are $7.99, others are $9.99, or you can buy the entire set for $57.54
Link to Potternmore: http://shop.pottermore.com/
Link to The Digital Reader post on the DRM situation: http://www.the-digital-reader.com/
Share with us:
Do you think this approach to selling ebooks will spread?