Harry Potter eBooks now availableAfter years of impatient clamouring, Harry Potter fans can finally read about the Boy Who Lived on their favourite eBook devices. The books are now available in several eBook formats and range in price from $7.99 to $9.99 and are available for purchase through the Pottermore Store. The entire collection can be purchased for $57.54, which works out to about eight bucks a book. Not too bad.

Most interesting, though, is the way the books behave once purchased through the Pottermore store. The Verge has details:

Once you create a Pottermore account and buy a book (the first three are $7.99 each, the final four $9.99 each), you can download it up to eight times in any format you choose. The Wall Street Journal notes that each retailer gets a cut of the sales, but Apple’s iTunes Store is notably absent — you’ll need the ePub version if you want to read in iBooks.

Once you assign your purchase to a service (we tried an Amazon Kindle purchase), it behaves just as any Kindle book does. You can download it as many times as you want to your Kindle, it shows up with all other purchased books, and works on any device that Amazon has an app for (including the iPad). We also downloaded the ePub version and easily synced it to our iPad; it opened in iBooks without issue. These digital rights felt pretty reasonable to us — you could assign a copy to each of the four supported services, download an ePub copy, and still have three downloads remaining.

In a way, this round-about DRM is frustrating and being locked into purchasing the books through Pottermore is an extra step in the process, but, on the flipside, I appreciate that once a book is purchased, it’s available for download in multiple eBook formats and usable across various devices. Nothing’s more frustrating than known that each Kindle book I buy is locked into the Kindle platform and won’t be available (without some elbow grease), should I ever choose to use an eBook reader that doesn’t support .mobi files. It’s also nice to know that readers will, essentially, be able to share the book amongst friends and families more easily than most eBooks.

The Verge is also impressed with the quality of the eBooks:

The ebooks themselves are nicely formatted, with original illustrations intact, but there’s no bonus material here — though the WSJ notes that “enhanced editions” will video and audio content will eventually follow.

I’m not really one to care much for “bonus material” in eBooks, but I’d make a very generous and slavering exception for the Harry Potter series. I can’t wait to see those “Enhanced Editions” down the road.

  • Kendall March 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I’m confused by The Verge’s article, and WSJ’s line about “Apple device owners will be able to access the books through other retailer apps.” This doesn’t surprise me (I’m used to non-tech news outlets being confused about tech, especially in non-tech articles).

    Pottermore’s Help/FAQ is clear that the books are watermarked, etc. and that you can download the epub, load it into iTunes, and sync to iBooks to read. So while it doesn’t appear in iBookstore and they don’t SAY there’s DRM or not, I don’t believe Apple supports anyone else’s DRM . . . so it sounds like there’s no DRM on the epub. At least not if you get the epub straight from Pottermore. I’m guessing if you buy at Pottermore but use B&N or Amazon or whatever, the version you get through the retailer is DRM’d (hardly surprising), though this isn’t totally clear, either. But the Help/FAQ sure makes it sound like it’s just watermarking/branding, trust, legal agreement/license, etc.

    If I’m right then really you could read it in anything that handles epub. I have no idea if I’m right — it’s not worth $7.99 to me to find out (I own all the hardbacks and audiobooks; I don’t feel the need for the ebooks), but I’m curious, if anyone here buys it…. Anyway, overall Pottermore sounds pretty flexible — more than I’d expected, anyway.

  • Kendall March 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    BTW the “link” link below my comment doesn’t work; it redirects to the post URL without the anchor reference, i.e., to the top of the page. This seems to work though:


  • Raphael March 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

    It is kind of sad that this multi-device capability is so amazing. Have “you guys” already become so used to DRM and artificial technology walls? Phew.

    Good thing I only get ebooks from Gutenberg and consorts as well as Smashwords. They do the natural thing.