Pottermore gives up their exclusive rights to the Harry Potter eBooks, which are now available through all eBook platforms, including Kindle and Nook.
It’s rather amazing that Rowling and company held on to the rights to distributing the Harry Potter audiobooks and eBooks through Pottermore as long as they did, considering how non-accessible Pottermore was to the average internet user up until this past September. But with the retooling of a more open Pottermore, brought the opening up of merchandising to more conventional means. The wild success of the Harry Potter audiobooks on Audible, (with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone still at Number One on their best seller charts six weeks later), was only the beginning. With the realization of how much money there is to be made through these conventional channels, Rowling and company have quietly taken the next step and brought the eBooks to the mainstream distributors of Kindle and Nook.
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Unlike Audible this was done without fanfare or press releases. In fact the only reason anyone noticed was that The Digital Reader suddenly realized last week that the books had become available, and that the reviews stemmed back to December 15th. As they note, this is quiet proof that the pan to keep things exclusive, and perhaps show a path way from the big on line retailers was not the success Pottermore originally hoped it would be. Also, and this is the heart of the matter, as The Bookseller published this week, the numbers for Pottermore now that their original deal with Sony has run out, were pretty dire. In their estimates, Sony was providing 70% of Pottermore revenue sales. Without them, things were collapsing.
The site, which gives Harry Potter fans an enhanced experience of J K Rowling’s wizarding world, along with new short stories, insights and games, relaunched in September with a new mobile-first search-friendly format. Before this, in the year ending 31st March 2015, sales dropped by £24.8m – or 352% – to £7m (from £31.8m a year earlier), while profit at Pottermore also decreased significantly, from £14.9m in 2014 to a loss of £6m in 2015.
Also, as TechCrunch notes, part of the reason for the lack of fanfare was due to the publishers giving in bit by bit. The Harry Potter eBooks were part of Kindle Unlimited prior to this. But by bringing it to all Kindle users, not just the high end ones, and to Nook, which was left out before, the consumer base is now considerably widened. Chalk up another win for Amazon and the major retailers. Even in the digital world, a mom-and-pop type shop like Pottermore, even propped up by some of the most desirable titles in the book world, cannot compete with the big guys.
You cna head over to Kindle and Nook now and download your copies today.