Harry Potter ebook model a success?

Pottermore‘s experiment of bypassing the distributors seems to a be a success.

Is this a peek into the future, where successful authors (or their publishers) will bypass platform owners (Amazon, Apple, and others) and directly offer e-versions of their top sellers to customers?

British versions of the Harry Potter series My...

Image via Wikipedia

Despite the wide availability of pirated copies, the ebook versions of the books have been widely successful.

During an interview with Radio Litopia’s “The Naked Book” Wednesday afternoon, Redmayne said Pottermore sold more than $1.5 million worth of Harry Potter books in the store’s first three days online.

via Pottermore Sells $1.5 Million Worth of Harry Potter E-Books in 3 Days – John Paczkowski – Media – AllThingsD.

What is to be seen is if JK Rowling will follow a similar strategy for the sales of her new novel. Though ebook prices have been announced, it is still not clear if the publisher of this book will bypass the Amazon, Google and Apple platforms. A Kindle version is currently available for pre-purchase, but eventually, this link might forward buyers to the publisher’s website.

The Casual Vacancy

480 pages (approximately)

ISBN  9781408704202   (hardback) price £20.00

ISBN  9781405519229   (ebook) price £11.99

ISBN  9781405519212   (audio download) £20.00

ISBN  9781405519205   (CD) price £30.00

via THE CASUAL VACANCY – Little, Brown Book Group.

Harry Potter eBooks augur changes in digital publishing strategies?

The Harry Potter books are now available for purchase in ebook formats at pottermore.com. Though Amazon lists them as available, clicking on the purchase links redirects users to the pottermore site. Is this a peek into the future, where successful authors (or their publishers) will bypass platform owners (Amazon, Apple, and others) and directly offer e-versions of their top sellers to customers? By avoiding these platforms, will authors / publishers be able to charge more (or less) than the platform driven price tags of $9.99 per book? (The Harry Potter books are available for $7.99 for the first three, and $9.99 for the other four. There is also a bundle price of $57.54 for the whole collection.)

This move comes on the heels of JK Rowling‘s announcement her website that she is working on a new novel, targeted at adults.

Amazon’s ‘Netflix for Books’ is here

Amazon has launched its long rumored ‘Netflix for Books’. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library allows Kindle owners having an annual Amazon Prime membership to borrow 1 book per month – free and with no due dates. While this is short of the expected ‘eat as much as you can’ plan, it certainly increases the attractiveness of the Prime service, which adds free books to its existing 2 day shipping and free movie streaming benefits.


Image via Amazon

This also seems to be a test of sorts for a much larger launch – perhaps an eventual ‘read as much as you can’ book rental service.

For the vast majority of titles, Amazon has reached agreement with publishers to include titles for a fixed fee. In some cases, Amazon is purchasing a title each time it is borrowed by a reader under standard wholesale terms as a no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that this new service presents.

Read more at Introducing The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Digitizing Paper Books

1DollarScan.com offers to digitize any book @1$ per 100 pages. Ship your  books to them and they send you PDFs in return. To avoid copyright issues, the firm scans each book, destroys it and does not maintain master digital copies on their servers.

Implications of this service are huge – publishers will gain by the removal of books from the huge second-hand book market. However, they may argue that they are loosing potential digital books sales they could have made to the users of 1DollarScan.

There are also several grey areas – it is not clear which rights apply to the PDFs of hard copy books – owners have greater rights over analogue books as compared to digital books. For example, can one borrow a PDF of an analogue book without breaking the TOS of the digital version of the book? Also, when someone buys an analogue copy of a book, do they get the right to digitize it? Or would copyright law require them to buy a separate digital copy?

Read more at Media digitisation: Book transubstantiation | The Economist.

Storing Annotations on the Cloud: Kindle books at libraries

A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

Amazon has announced that Kindle books can now be borrowed from local libraries in the US. There are two key points to this announcement –

  1. Availability – these books will be available at over 11,000 local libraries.
  2. Advantage of ebooks over traditional paper books – customers will be able to take notes & make annotations (which Amazon will store, for free, on its amazing Amazon cloud). Thus if you borrow or buy the book in the future, your notes will still be there.

This may have major implications on consumer buying and consumption habits – for example, no more waiting for a book to get returned (assuming that there will be no limit to the number of Kindle copies of a book that are ‘stocked’ at a given library). Also, the books will feel like personal copies of the book due to the annotations.

Instant access and a personalized book reading experience – guess some folks may decide not to buy a copy of that ol’ book that they revisit once every few years!

Here is the Amazon press release – Kindle Books Now Available at over 11,000 Local Libraries.