Home » Ebooks, Self-Publishing » Harry Potter And The Missing Middlemen: Where The Pottermore Store Goes Wrong

Harry Potter And The Missing Middlemen: Where The Pottermore Store Goes Wrong

29 March 2012

From TechDirt:

[T]he Pottermore store serves as an example of why even creators like Rowling, who have the resources to build their own platforms for everything, shouldn’t necessarily shun the enabler-middlemen [online bookstores] at every turn.

For one thing, there was the timeframe. The store was originally supposed to launch last October, but was delayed until now, eight months after the announcement. Prior to this, there were no legal electronic copies of Harry Potter available anywhere—even though pirated copies of each book were available almost immediately. Had Rowling embraced existing ebook stores, she could have released electronic copies alongside physical ones, instead of making her fans wait (and often pirate) in the interval.

Then there are the unnecessary additional barriers to access the books. Downloading from Pottermore requires you to create yet another account with yet another website—a growing source of consumer fatigue online. Rowling has struck deals with major ebook stores to funnel people into her website, meaning if you pull up a Harry Potter title somewhere like the Kindle Store, you are asked to click through and set up a separate Pottermore account, then go through additional steps to link it to your Amazon account. Since many readers do all their ebook shopping this way, and since these stores have always focused on (and found success by)reducing the number of forms and clicks needed to buy a book, this is likely to put off a lot of customers. It also means the books won’t be available in the iBook store, since Apple, with their trademark stubbornness, did not agree to a special deal alongside Sony, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google.

Link to the rest at TechDirt

Ebooks, Self-Publishing

5 Comments to “Harry Potter And The Missing Middlemen: Where The Pottermore Store Goes Wrong”

  1. I’ve wondered what her sales numbers would actually be. It’s rather hard to catch a wave that’s already passed. The popularity of something like Harry Potter burns brightly and quickly. In fact, I wonder how long Rowling’s investment in the site will take to earn out. I hope for her sake she didn’t go ahead with the site because “I’m J. K. Rowling and so it will be successful.”

  2. Harry Potter print books are still in the top 100 Children’s on Amazon. She’ll make the investment back easily. Some people will want ebook and print copies (those are heavy books in hardcover and not portable, which is why I want them). Some who read borrowed copies or from their school library who now have ereaders will buy them. First time readers with ereaders…

    Having to go to her website is an additional pain, but because it’s Harry Potter, people will endure it.

  3. I love the Harry Potter books, but I’m not a fanatic, in the sense that I’d never get dressed up and head to the bookstore at midnight to buy the next edition. But many people did. I think that there is so much loyalty for these books that many people won’t care about setting up new accounts (which is pretty commonplace nowdays, let’s face it. Yes, it’s a pain, but I do it every time I can get a better deal from a certain retailer, and she has no ebook competition.)

    • I think SOME people won’t care. I liked the books and have been thinking that it would be worthwhile now that they are all out to read them back-to-back. I also like to read books on my phone, so I might have bought the e-books.

      But I’m not going to go to Pottermore and go through all that crap. Screw that. I own a couple in paper and rest I’ll get from the library.

  4. The fun part is that it would have been very well possible to get the normal editions into the usual stores and then launch the site with all the extra content and the enhanced stuff.

    There would have been much more time and way less pressure. 😉

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