Pottermore: J.K. Rowling’s e-book Adventure

20 Jul

With last weekend’s release of the final installment of the Harry Potter movies, fans everywhere found themselves forced to accept not only the end of the magical story, but (for some) the end of childhood itself. (OK, I’ll admit it…I’m one of those fans.)

But is it really over?

As it turns out, author J.K. Rowling is not only a fantasy-writing genius, she is also quite business savvy. Until recently, fans could only hope to read Harry Potter in print form, as Rowling held off on making the books available in digital formats.

However, in a bold move, Rowling has revealed to cosumers that the Potter series will soon be offered in multiple languages in digital form — but exclusively on Pottermore, a free website for fans that is partnered with Sony.

The Pottermore Insider (official blog) describes the site as an “interactive, illustrated companion” to the books, which will include “exclusive new material especially for Pottermore giving unique insights, back stories and additional information about the characters, places and objects in the Harry Potter series.”

So, fans will flock to the site for the interactive experience and the new information, and there the e-books will be, easily available for purchase.

Come on, Harry Potter doesn’t need any publicity help! But, like I said…genius.

While Rowling has decided to share some of the proceeds with her print publishers, Bloomsbury (United Kingdom) and Scholastic (United States), by avoiding the traditional methods of e-book publishing and selling to her consumers directly she will undoubtedly receive a significantly larger share of the sale proceeds.

The Atlantic calls Pottermore “a guaranteed success” and notes the possible ramifications of the plan for the rest of the publishing world:

“Rowling’s initiative is bound to encourage other major authors to press for a greater portion of revenues than they have received so far, with the implied ‘threat’ of breaking away from their long-time partners and going direct to consumers.”

Will J.K. Rowling change the way authors distribute books to consumers? This billionaire — who is sure to have publishing houses kissing the ground she walks on — is going for a (sort-of) self-publishing approach. And I love it.

According to the blog, the Pottermore shop is due to go live in October and the site hopes to offer e-books in as many formats as possible.

And, just because they love watching us hang on the edge of our seats, the Insider blog offhandedly adds,

“We don’t want to ruin the surprise but something will be happening on Pottermore.com on 31 July.”

…the magic continues.

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