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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Harry Potter E-Books Are Finally Available Today

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 3:14 PM

J.K. Rowling is doing e-books right:

The e-books will feature on retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but can only be bought from Pottermore. Readers will then be able to securely "push" the digital books to up to eight devices concurrently, including the Sony Reader, Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, or receive an ePub version. But the titles will not be available through Apple's iBookstore after Pottermore and Apple failed to reach agreement ahead of the launch. It is believed to be the first time Amazon and Barnes & Noble have allowed an e-book sold on a third-party retail site to be downloaded onto a Kindle or Nook device.

[Charlie] Redmayne [, Pottermore's chief executive,] described the deals with Sony, Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble as "groundbreaking". He said: "This is the first time Amazon and B&N have driven customers off their platform to another site, and then given the ability to push that content back to their device."

The difference with the Harry Potter e-books is that when you buy them, you actually buy a copy of the book, in the form of a file. Unless you go through the trouble of stripping the DRM from your Kindle or Nook books, you're just licensing your e-books from a retailer. This is a crucial difference, and I'm glad J.K. Rowling took the time to do it right. Even better, the books are available for $7.99 each, which seems to me to be a fair price for an e-book.

Not every author has the global popularity to do something like this, obviously, but I'm hoping that Rowling's push for DRM-free files and affordable pricing will catch on in the industry. All it would take is a few high-profile authors to advocate for e-books to be sold like this, and the whole shitty e-book system as we know it could start to change. The way e-books are sold now—high prices, a licensing system—is just ridiculous.


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