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Pottermore eBookstore Now Live – Epub, Kindle, & Expensive – Updated

March 27th, 2012 by · 34 Comments · ebookstore news

Pottermore surprised many this morning with the launch of their new ebookstore. You can find all 7 volumes on the site, with proper covers and illustrations, for $8 to $10 each. They’re available DRM free in Epub and Kindle, in English. Enhanced editions that may have video and other features and foreign language editions will eventually follow.

Update: HP ebooks are now live in the Kindle Store and the Nook Store. The links in those stores redirect to Pottermore.  I’ve just bought one and I was able to transfer it to my Kindle account on Amazon.com, and I strongly urge you to do the same. Pottermore limits you to only 8 downloads. Other options include transferring the ebook to the Nook Store, Sony, and Google Play.

The ebooks will eventually be available for purchase via the Kindle, Google Play, and Nook ebookstores, but not iBooks. From the WSJ description, it sounds like you will be able to buy the ebooks in the respective stores and download your copy from there. That’s going to be nice for Nook owners, but it doesn’t have much appeal for Kindle owners, now that we have the Kindle Cloud to store our ebooks. There’s no word yet on the library editions, but the last I heard they will be available before the end of April.

 

Rowling’s books have sold an estimated 450 million physical copies and been translated into more than 70 languages. I’m sure she’s going to have similar success with the ebooks. Pottermore has just left its beta period and opened up to the public, and it already has millions of fans.

I have to ask: are the price for real? They’re asking $8 for books that were originally published starting 15 years ago. I don’t even pay $8 for a book published last year.

While I’m sure they’re going to sell quite a few copies, I’m also pretty damn sure that the high price will turn away a lot of parents. These are folks who have probably already bought at least one complete set of the paper editions for their kids, as well as the movies, games, and other junk. My mother, at least, would baulk at buying an expensive digital set as well, and she likes books.

I also have to wonder if this is really the best way to introduce the first legal copies of what has to be the most pirated ebook in recent history. Up until today, there were no legal HP ebooks. That guaranteed that anyone who wanted one had to go get it free from an illicit source.

So that means that most everyone who wanted ebooks bad enough already has them.  Pottermore’s task was to convince those pirates to go legit. Oh, I think they should replace the pirated copies with legit ones; that’s the ethical thing to do. But given the high ebook prices, how many pirates will decide it’s not worth it?

The real story today is that JK Rowling is still leaving money on the table. She ignored ebooks for many years and is now selling them at a steep premium. Clearly she doesn’t understand the ebook market anymore now than she has in the past decade.

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34 Comments so far ↓

  • Sweetpea

    Expensive!?!?! I found them rather cheap myself… I wish I could buy more books with a price tag of less than €6… Most books here are more in the range of €15…

    And from what I understand you can connect your book to the Amazon store so you can download from there.

    “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)”

  • calvin

    It is even more weird, on the following page:

    http://shop.pottermore.com/en_GB/Help/faq_compatibledevices?c=GBP

    “All Amazon Kindle devices and reading apps” are listed as compatible ?!

    very strange…
    calvin

  • fjtorres

    It gets better.
    You can buy via Amazon and get them cheaper.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm…harry%20potter

    Quote:
    How to Buy
    To complete a purchase, you must create an account at the Pottermore Shop, a third-party site, and all transactions take place on Pottermore, not Amazon. Find the book that you want on Amazon, click the “Buy at Pottermore” link, and you will be taken through the purchase process on their site.

    How to Read
    Books purchased from the Pottermore Shop can be linked to a customer’s Amazon account so that they have the same “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” features as other Kindle books. When you link your account we will send the book to the Kindle or Kindle apps registered to the same Amazon account.

    (For a Change, Amazon is the Affiliate to their partner.)

    Sorceror’s Stone: $6.39
    Chamber of Secrets: $5.99
    Prisoner of Azkhaban: $5.79
    Goblet of Fire: $6.98
    Order of the Phoenix: $7.11
    Half-blood Prince: $7.01
    Deathly Hallows: $7.99

    Total: $47.26

    Your prices will likely vary., of course.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      I’m seeing the list price in the Kindle store, not any sale price

      • fjtorres

        Heh. They changed it.
        I wonder if somebody whined.

        The link isn’t working now, either.
        But they’re promoting the Potterbooks on their front page so its easy to get to them.

        • Nate Hoffelder

          I’m not seeing them on Amazon’s front page, LOL.

          • fjtorres

            They must not like you.
            I see several different *generic* greetings prooting the FIRE or the K4 and all scream Harry Potter.
            And I’m not logged-in under my account so it’s what a random passerby gets.
            Maybe they think it”s a waste of time trying to sell you Potter or Kindles.
            :)

  • fjtorres

    What’s interesting is that if you buy the downloadable epub you get a minimaly watermarked, ADEPT-free epub. And you can *still* link it to the Kindle cloud.

    I’d say that Rowling’s advisers correctly gauged the ebook market and cooked up a pretty fair deal:
    - No price fix scam
    - Fairly liberal Terms of Use
    - paperback-level pricing (at least via Amazon)
    - different regions get ebook that resembles local print edition
    - free downloadable samples
    - ability to sync to Kindle and Nook ecosystems

    What’s to gripe about?

  • Erik

    So you could get the ePub and transfer to iBooks though since drm free? I actually buy none of my eBooks on nook or amazon, all on iBookstore for iPad. I’m one of those that like everything in one place, even with all the devices, iPad is my go to device. Wondering if Rowling has plans for a unique or enhanced ePub version for iBooks, would be smart..

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  • Mike Cane

    Do the math. The set makes them about US$6.42 per book. I think that’s what most fans will go for and I think that’s a good price. My carp is the single-book price jump from $7.99 to $9.99. I think that’s uncalled for.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      No, the set makes them over $8 a book.

      • Mike Cane

        WHOA!!! Wait one damn minute here! I wish now I had done a screensnap — because the set is now PRICED HIGHER than when I did my math!!

        The price earlier was in the $45.00 range for the set. Now it’s been jacked up to $57.54!

        And I *did* do my math correctly earlier. I did it more than once to check. If I had taken a damn screensnap, I’d be able to prove they’ve since RAISED the price.

        • Mike Cane

          *rips out hair* Looking around the web, everyone else is reporting the $57.54 price. I tell you I had a totally different price that was lower!! My math made them come out to $6.42… per eBook as the bundle.

  • Ingo Lembcke

    Interesting that none of you noticed the price difference on pottermore.
    Change the language to real English (GB) and get a price change to a more expensive $ 61.34 … Surprise surprise, I would have guessed the US-Version would be more expensive, due to translation (see also the title-change of the first book).

    Also i found the price to be reasonable, I have recently searched high and low for new and older books below Eur 10, or below Us$ 10. Titles from high ranked published (on paper) crime/SF/Fantasy authors are very rarely less than Us$ 10 nowadays with the price fixing in the english publishing world – which we in Germany had forever for books published in German.
    And I have read a few cheap books, and was not satisfied.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      I thought the difference was because of VAT or a slightly out of date conversion algorithm.

      • Ingo Lembcke

        I could agree to that, but everything else stays the same, my IP, currency etc. Just now I accessed the store (no account yet) with a german IP – I am from Germany but often use a VPN with a USA-IP – and get the same offer in Euro: US-English 43.33 Eur GB(UK)-English Eur 46.19. Normally a price difference between USA and Germany is simply US-price-in-Euro +19% (vat in Germany, ebooks 19%, paper books 7%).
        But this is just strange.

        And I will certainly by the GB-Version, whatever it takes!

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  • Mike Cane

    @fjtorres I saw the lower price this morning, around 10-11AM or so? At Pottermore, not at Amazon or anywhere else. I wish to hell I’d done a screensnap. I should know better!

  • Common Sense

    Personally, I don’t get the Pottermore craze. We have all the physical books and my kids are all adults now. I enjoyed reading them when they did, so that we could discuss the stories and enjoy the movies, but we’ve all moved on. I didn’t really like the last book anyway, I felt that she changed the story based on fan speculation.

    Why would I ever pay new ebook prices for the digital copies? I also don’t like that you have to jump through 3rd party hoops just to buy a copy through Amazon. Why not just let Kindle users OneClick like they do everything else? If I’m going to buy from a 3rd party site, it will only be a true DRM-free ebook I can use when and where ever I want, as many times as I want. Just like a physical book.

    Also, I bet we’ll hear about a watermark stripper within the week.

    Rowling has already made billions. Why not be adventurous and see what would happen with affordably priced ($2.99, $3.99. or even $4.99 each), truly DRM-free ebooks with no restrictions?

    • Mike Cane

      The watermark is likely a link in the CSS that can easily be snipped out by someone who unzips the ePub.

    • BrooklynEsq

      What’s so unaffordable about $7.99 or $9.99? Wasn’t $9.99 the price that people are clamoring for since that’s what Amazon supposedly promised?

      “I also don’t like that you have to jump through 3rd party hoops just to buy a copy through Amazon. Why not just let Kindle users OneClick like they do everything else? ”

      Because JKR owns the rights to her ebooks and wants to sell them this way, in a way that she still retains full control. I don’t blame her. In addition, while I’m sure money isn’t necessarily at the forefront of her mind, she keeps a bigger piece of the monetary pie.

      The ebooks are actually my third full set of Harry Potter books. I don’t think the price was bad at all, especially considering that I got the bundle.

  • Mike Cane

    Hey, Nate, what does that ePub watermark look like? Post a screensnap.

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