From The Bookseller:
The Harry Potter e-books will go on sale exclusively from the Pottermore website from midday today (27th March). It is the first time author J K Rowling has allowed e-book versions of the seven titles to be released, and the move marks the beginning of the roll-out of the Pottermore experience, a virtual world based on the author’s fictional creations originally announced last June.
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[Pottermore CEO Charlie] Redmayne also revealed that Pottermore was planning enhanced editions of the bestselling series, and confirmed that it would operate an affiliates scheme for retailers.
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The first three titles will be sold at £4.99 with the later four books priced at £6.99. The digital audio files, featuring the Stephen Fry narration, are also being made available exclusively from Pottermore priced at £17.99 for the first three books, and £32.99 for the end four. In the US the equivalent prices for the e-books are $7.99 and $9.99, with the audiobooks, read by actor Jim Dale, priced at $29.99 and $44.99.
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The e-books will feature on retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but can only be bought from Pottermore. Readers will then be able to securely “push” the digital books to up to eight devices concurrently, including the Sony Reader, Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, or receive an ePub version. But the titles will not be available through Apple’s iBookstore after Pottermore and Apple failed to reach agreement ahead of the launch.
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The e-books will also simultaneously be made available through OverDrive for library users in the US and UK. Libraries will be able to loan each e-book edition as many times as there is demand, but the license will only last for five years, after which libraries will need to purchase a new edition.
Link to the rest at The Bookseller and here’s the link on Amazon to the Kindle version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which includes a “Buy at Pottermore” link that takes you to Pottermore where you have to open a new Pottermore account which seems pretty kludgy in PG’s endlessly humble opinion.
But the kludge is just starting.
- At Pottermore, you can download a sample “to your computer” which, apparently doesn’t include your Kindle (but why would you ever want to read a book sample on a Kindle?).
- The sample is in Epub format. (I followed the link from Amazon’s Kindle page so of course I want an Epub file.)
- When the Epub file hit PG’s computer, it caused the Nook for PC application to open. PG has no idea what you’ll see if you don’t have an Epub reader on your computer.
- Despite opening Nook for PC, the sample didn’t appear on Nook for PC (at least for PG).
- In his endless quest for knowledge, PG rooted around his download folder until he found the sample file. Although the file type showed as .epub, PG’s Windows computer analyzed it as a Zip file and suggested PG’s Opera browser as the ideal program for the file. Opera is a lovely program, but it didn’t know what to think of the file.
- PG finally dragged the sample file to his still-open Nook for PC application.
- The sample opened in two columns, but never appeared in Nook for PC’s My Library listing, so if PG clicked away from the sample, it disappeared unless he dragged over another copy from his download folder.
- PG will be interested in how this process works (or doesn’t) with Macs, tablets, etc.
Somewhere in the Pottermore organization, a decision was made that mere mortal bookstores like Amazon could not be permitted do anything strange and unusual like actually sell the Harry Potter ebooks.
That was a stupid decision. The Pottermore store looks like PG’s first attempt to create a website in 1994 and operates like it was programmed by North Korean prisoners working on half-rations.
And if Pottermore can’t even deliver a free sample properly, what’s it going to do with an ebook you bought with your hard-earned money?
Incidentally, the Pottermore Shop doesn’t list a phone number for you to call. You fill out an email form and wait. Or call Amazon and learn your problem can only be solved by Pottermore because all the ebook files come from Pottermore. Or here’s the FAQ page which will probably scare you off all by itself.
This strange division of responsibility between Pottermore and real online book stores is perfectly-designed to generate lots of finger-pointing among the partners.
All of this is, of course, in Passive Guy’s unremittingly humble opinion.