June 24, 2011
It was once said that iTunes would not be complete without The Beatles albums. The same could be said about iBooks and J.K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter books. However, while Apple was finally able to get the band from Liverpool, England to take up residence in its ecosystem, and same may never be said about the boy wizard. This week’s announcement that Rowling is set to debut an online extension of the Harry Potter universe called Pottermore, isn’t just bad news for Apple, but for e-book providers everywhere. To date, none of the seven Potter books are available in e-book format. But, that will change in October with the introduction of Pottermore, which will offer DRM-free copies of each novel. These books, which will be sold exclusively through Rowling’s new universe, will work on any device including the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. According to TUAW, this means:
Rowling is pointedly eschewing all major e-book sellers while boosting the e-book market at the same time. Apple won't get its 30 percent cut of the millions of Harry Potter e-books that are guaranteed to sell. At the same time, neither will Amazon, Waterstone or anyone else beyond Rowling's print publishers Bloomsbury and Scholastic, which will get a share of the revenue, and Sony, which is a partner in the endeavor.However, this week’s announcement affects Apple in another way too. Not only will Cupertino miss out on collecting revenues for Harry Potter e-books, but they will actually lose revenue too. Since 2005, iTunes has been the exclusive home to Harry Potter audiobooks. Yet, that agreement is set to expire and the audiobooks will move from iTunes to Pottermore this fall. Rowling’s moves are interesting, but they probably won’t mean a mass exodus of authors from more established e-book playgrounds such as Apple’s iBooks or Amazon’s Kindle. After all, Harry Potter is unique and Rowling herself almost certainly has more clout than any other author on the planet. Still, perhaps other authors will attempt to create Pottermores of their own. Says TUAW:
While not all authors have the financial might that Rowling does, it could tempt other authors such as Nora Roberts, Suzanne Collins, James Patterson and the estate of Stieg Larsson to reconsider their digital-publishing options. All of these authors are members of Amazon's so-called Kindle Million Club, those who have sold a million or more e-books for the Kindle, and they bring in a hefty chunk of change for Apple as well.At the end, however, readers could probably care less where they get their books, as long as they work on their devices. Check out Rowling's Pottermore announcement: What are your thoughts on Pottermore and how it will affect Apple? Let us know by leaving your comments below.
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