“Alohomora!” J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website to keep the world of Harry Potter alive on digital has finally opened its e-bookstore.
While Rowling's books have sold an estimated 450 million physical copies and been translated into more than 70 languages, the author had retained the digital rights as part of her book publishing contracts, so the e-book editions weren't immediately available — until the Pottermore (think "Potter" plus "ever more") digital brand extension plan was announced last June. Already, Slate is calling it a game-changer for publishing.
English-language readers can now purchase all seven Harry Potter novels in digital and audiobook editions, while French, Italian, German and Spanish editions will be coming soon. Books one through three are priced at $7.99 each, and four through seven (longer in length) at $9.99 each and can be read on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the Sony Reader, Amazon’s Kindle, or downloaded to tablets, computers or smartphones. Noticeably absent from the retailer list is Apple, whose iBookstore will not carry the books, although Apple device owners can access them through other apps.
Plans were to start selling e-books last October, but hesitancy that Pottermore could fulfill the anticipated volume led to delay and the hiring of veteran digital publishing executive, Charlie Redmayne, as CEO. The full site, which includes a virtual encyclopedia, computer games, social networking and an online store, is slated to open in April.
“Today is a great day for Harry Potter fans and e-book readers alike. Not only is this phenomenally popular series available in e-book form for the first time, but across an extensive range of devices and platforms, thanks to unique collaborations with leading online retailers,” said Redmayne.
The timing is magical as according to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales grew by 117% to $970 million in 2011 compared with 2010. The Potter e-books guarantee “Wingardium Leviosa” for the industry as a whole.
Rowling is now conjuring a novel for adults.