Ebook editions of JK Rowling’s seven bestselling Harry Potter titles went on sale for the first time today, marking what is being described as digital publishing’s “Beatles’ moment”.
Initially scheduled to launch last October, the anticipated Potter ebooks became available to buy from Rowling’s new venture, the website Pottermore, today. The first three novels cost £4.99 in ebook form, compared to a cover price of £6.99 for the print editions, while the final four are priced at £6.99 in ebook compared to an £8.99 cover price in print. All seven can be purchased in a bundled digital edition for £38.64, and the ebooks are compatible with devices and platforms including Sony’s Reader, Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Google Play. Although the titles feature on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they can only be bought from Pottermore.
“Today is a great day for Harry Potter fans and ebook readers alike. Not only is this phenomenally popular series available in ebook form for the first time, but across an extensive range of devices and platforms, thanks to unique collaborations with leading online retailers,” said Pottermore chief executive Charlie Redmayne. The Pottermore website, which allows users to journey through the world of the Harry Potter books, will open to all in early April.
“This is digital publishing’s Beatles’ moment,” said Philip Jones, deputy editor of The Bookseller. “These will be huge – they are a game changer because of the power of the Potter brand.”
Jones said the prices of £4.99 and £6.99 for the ebooks were “fair, given their public utterances that they don’t want to cannibalise print sales”.
“Harry Potter in print made £4m last year, so that’s a business they obviously don’t want to see evaporate, yet they do want to grow digital business too,” said Jones. “They’re not being aggressive about digital pricing but that might change as they watch how customers respond. They will also bring out enhanced editions, which will help them build a broader digital business.”
The Harry Potter series has sold 450m copies worldwide to date. Last month, Rowling announced she had signed a deal to write a new book for adults, but revealed nothing about its contents other than that the title would “explore new territory”.
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