Harry Potter books to finally make eBook debut

J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has announced plans to join the multitude of authors distributing their works as eBooks. The catch, however, is that the series will only be available from the new Pottermore website, bypassing the likes of Amazon and Apple.

Pottermore, as explained in an introduction video, will be a new online community set to extend the fictional universe in as-yet-unspecified ways. "[Pottermore] will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books, and for the first time, eBooks of the Harry Potter series," Rowling said.

The website is expected to launch in October, with a smaller test before then. Information on how to gain early access will be announced 31st July, but until then fans can leave their email address to receive updates. Although the audio books and eBooks will come at a price, the service itself is free.

The move is a turnaround for Rowling who previously refused to release eBook versions of her work, citing piracy fears. In 2005, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was uploaded in its entirety less than 24 hours after going on sale.

While details on what the rest of Pottermore entails are scarce, a leak from The Guardian yesterday claimed that the site would involve a treasure hunt of some sort. The introduction video made no reference to this, but the possibility is still open as the October launch approaches.

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Partnering with Sony? Presume that means ePub.

I don't see the point in skipping Amazon, Apple, etc. either. If she feared piracy so much then why limit the digital retail channels?

To all the people saying “she won't sell them as eBooks so ill pirate them, your criminals end of, just because you can't buy a kidney doesn't mean you have a right to steal one for example only difference with something other than media your likely to get court.

Not this argument again. Do you not see the difference between stealing (depriving the original owner of the object) a kidney and pirating a song, movie, book, etc? You are not taking anything away from the owner. If you were not going to buy the song, movie or book anyway then the owner has lost absolutely nothing.

Everybody knows piracy is morally and lawfully wrong, but to the argument that it is somehow similar to stealing a physical object is just plain stupid.

Sylar2010 said,
To all the people saying “she won't sell them as eBooks so ill pirate them, your criminals end of, just because you can't buy a kidney doesn't mean you have a right to steal one for example only difference with something other than media your likely to get court.

No... You missed the point entirely. If she didn't want to release them as eBooks because she was worried about piracy, than she is already using fail logic because the books are already being pirated. They would have been pirated regardless of if they were available for purchase as eBooks or not. Same goes for the record companies originally not wanting to sell their music online for fear it may be pirated.... well, it was ALREADY being pirated regardless. There are just a lot of fail decisions because of the fear of piracy.

This might be a really stupid question, but I don't know the answer so I'm going to ask.
If the latest Happy Potter book was released illegal within 24hrs, does that mean someone scanned and OCR'd every page and then uploaded it? If so, what do they gain for doing it as it must have taken them quite a while (unless they cut the pages into single pieces and ran them through a commercial machine)...but again, why do it?

Lookin forward to the last movie..the first part wasn't that exciting but I understand it's need to lead up to the end.

The move is a turnaround for Rowling who previously refused to release eBook versions of her work, citing piracy fears.

That's dumb because the entire Harry Potter series is readily available on cyberspace in high quality postscript non-protected PDFs. I would not have known that if the books would have been available through Amazon, B&N, or iBooks because I would have gladly paid for them (again).

I think her logic in regards to piracy is wrong.

She does not need to release the book in electronic form, it will be anyway. The piracy will happen weather she likes it or not. What she can do is make them easily avaliable for people to download so for those who want her book in electronic form,they can obtain them legaly without having to pirate them.

Isn't "Calibre" just great for converting eBooks to whatever format you want. I have all the Potter books in epub., mobi, pdf, etc., and in audio books, so what is the big deal here. And, to those who feel that she should put them on Apple's eBook store please explain why she should pay Apple thirty percent of her gross (doesn't make sense).

Pam14160 said,
And, to those who feel that she should put them on Apple's eBook store please explain why she should pay Apple thirty percent of her gross (doesn't make sense).
This is what's interesting about Rowling's situation. She's a big enough name to be able to release her works independently, bypassing the major retailers and making more money for herself. It's similar to what Trent Reznor has been doing recently.

Pam14160 said,
Isn't "Calibre" just great for converting eBooks to whatever format you want. I have all the Potter books in epub., mobi, pdf, etc., and in audio books, so what is the big deal here. And, to those who feel that she should put them on Apple's eBook store please explain why she should pay Apple thirty percent of her gross (doesn't make sense).

By not putting it up on the Apple iBook store, she is making zero percent since her books aren't available to the multitude of eager iOS device users. Which is better.. 70% sales profit or 0% ? u decide

WiCkeD SaM said,

By not putting it up on the Apple iBook store, she is making zero percent since her books aren't available to the multitude of eager iOS device users. Which is better.. 70% sales profit or 0% ? u decide


You as many who think this way have no idea what you are talking about. When you have the name and the product then why use the middle man. When your product is "Harry Potter" you already have a following, hence you have a way of getting out your information (example: Neowin, and other websits). See it is already working.

AFineFrenzy said,
Funny, she's scared of piracy yet a few torrent searches and you can find all the books, in eBook formats, readily available.

Which probably explains the fear of piracy thing. Lost sales due to theft and all that.

Max Norris said,

Which probably explains the fear of piracy thing. Lost sales due to theft and all that.

Well, if Rowling made the books available as eBooks in the first place, many people would not have had to result to piracy.

Xilo said,
Well, if Rowling made the books available as eBooks in the first place, many people would not have had to result to piracy.

Well I do agree it should have been available long ago, but that's zero justification for stealing it. Nobody put a gun to their head "forcing" them to pirate it.

Max Norris said,

Well I do agree it should have been available long ago, but that's zero justification for stealing it. Nobody put a gun to their head "forcing" them to pirate it.

I would argue that many people who used the "If she had it available I wouldn't have pirated it" already own the physical books. They simply pirate it so they could have it in digital format. I don't know the legality of this, but I believe they have done nothing wrong.

Krieg said,
LoL....my wife has had these on her kindle for awhile now...

Even though Rowling is rich, it's good to see you support authors for their hard work

/sarcasm

Elessar said,

Even though Rowling is rich, it's good to see you support authors for their hard work

/sarcasm

Well, it's not like she's giving us a chance to support her. If the books were available on the Amazon store I would've bought them for sure, however since they're not available and luggage space is scarce and expensive, I just put them on my kindle. Simple as that.

Elessar said,

Even though Rowling is rich, it's good to see you support authors for their hard work

/sarcasm

I could have sworn I said "MY WIFE" and not "I" in my original statement...but I guess that doesn't matter.

Xilo said,
It's about damn time but incredibly epic fail to not put them on Amazon.

Seriously, wtf?


Perhaps they'll still work on the Kindle and Kindle apps. Rowling may have sorted something out with Amazon to ensure they do. If she's so concerned about piracy, this is much better than nothing.

O5M3L said,
Piracy? lol her books have been converted to every eBook format possible already. Kind of late for that

It's about control, of course.

Every anti-piracy argument about content - regardless of who makes it - still comes down to who controls the content and access to that content. As *she* is the series author, her POV is as sensible as that of John Carmack (id) in terms of the content he created, or any developer in terms of the content they create. Or are you arguing that merely by content being published - in any form - the creator loses all right to that content?