Readersforum's Blog

March 29, 2012

How Pottermore cast an ebook spell over Amazon

Digital magic ... JK Rowling at the launch of Pottermore, the website created to sell ebook versions of her Harry Potter books. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

…And why Harry Potter’s move into epublishing is digital magic

By Philip Jones

Take a look at Amazon’s ebook site and do a search for Harry Potter books and you will see something genuinely marvellous. Something that will warm the cockles of every publisher in the land, and perhaps even a few booksellers too.

Well, for a start, you will see that for the first time since the series began in 1997, official ebook versions of all seven titles in the Potter series are being sold.

But something even more remarkable has happened. In bringing these books to the digital marketplace, Pottermore, the business created to sell the ebooks, has forced Amazon into perhaps the biggest climbdown in its corporate history.

Instead of buying the ebooks through the Amazon e-commerce system, the buy link takes the customer off to Pottermore to complete the purchase, with the content seamlessly delivered to their Kindle device. It is the first time I’ve known Amazon to allow a third party to “own” that customer relationship, while also allowing that content to be delivered to its device. Amazon gets something like an affiliates’ fee from this transaction, much less than it would expect to receive selling an ebook through normal conditions. Schadenfreude doesn’t even come close.


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December 30, 2011

The top 10 books stories of 2011

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:50 pm

An extract from Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test topped our books site chart for 2011. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian

From non-fiction to Naipaul and psychopaths to Pottermore, here are the stories that brought readers to our books site this year.

By Richard Lea

Another year comes hurtling around the corner, another sinks gratefully back into its easy chair, and in the traditional spirit of openness and honesty it’s time to look back at the literary stories which have made 2011 – or at least the stories we’ve all been reading on the Guardian Books website. With only the briefest nod to the usual caveats, here they are: the most popular stories of 2011.

Except that, er, here they aren’t. I would love to share this year’s top story with you, but Jon Ronson’s witty, touching and illuminating account of Tony – who faked madness to avoid five to seven years for GBH and wound up spending over a decade in Broadmoor – was extracted from his latest book, and, so, as our page glumly announces, “has been removed as our copyright has expired”. Some of you are no doubt grinning smugly and turning to your paper archives, but for those who don’t have the relevant copy of Weekend magazine to hand, I suppose I could point you to Will Self’s excellent review of The Psychopath Test, or try to give you a flavour of how artfully Ronson flips between sympathy for Tony – who finds it’s “an awful lot harder … to convince people you’re sane than it is to convince them you’re crazy” – and the clarity provided by Robert Hare’s psychopathy checklist, but I guess I should really just apologise and move on.

Except, um, moving on is pretty hard when second on the list of 2011’s top books stories is a sorry page. Pottermore: Harry’s digital adventure was a specially-created page which lasted just one day to host one of the clues for the internet treasure hunt leading to JK Rowling’s online project, Pottermore. Maybe it’s only a marketing wheeze, as Sam Jordison suggests, but more than a decade after Harry Potter first found the Philosopher’s Stone, his popularity clearly remains undimmed. Our tech-folk had to wall off this page from our usual content in a custom-built silo to withstand the fierce attentions of Potter fans from around the world – my browser can’t even find the server that it was sitting on.

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October 4, 2011

‘Harry Potter’ E-Books Launch Delayed Until 2012

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 12:05 pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The Pottermore creators said that the electronic books said the postponement will allow them to focus on bringing “as many people as possible” to the website.

Harry Potter fans who want to own all seven books from the J.K. Rowling franchise in electronic form will have to wait just a little bit longer.

On Friday, the creators of Pottermore, a Harry Potter website, said that the e-book store has been pushed back until next year, the Associated Press reports. E-book versions of Harry Potter were set to go on sale in October through Pottermore.

In a post, Pottermore management said that registration would be open to everyone at the end of October and that the store would be open in “the first half” of next year.

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August 17, 2011

Pottermore launches in beta

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:42 am

 | By Charlotte Williams

J K Rowling’s Pottermore site launched yesterday as a beta version for members of the press and the one million fans who registered for early access.

The e-book and audiobook store on the site is among the sections not yet accessible, with it to open when the full launch goes ahead in October.

Each site visitor is given their own username, password and homepage and they then build up a profile as the site enables the user to navigate through the chapters of the seven Harry Potter titles, collecting objects and experiencing original animated “moments”, which give users access to new content from J K Rowling, as well as snippets from the original text.

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