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Harry Potter author to bypass Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple and offer fantasy series in the open-source e-Pub format, compatible with any electronic reading device, including the iPad.
J.K. Rowling will sell the Harry Potter e-book through her own e-commerce store and interactive online experience, Pottermore.
Rowling, who retains the digital rights to the seven Harry Potter novels, will sell the Harry Potter e-books through a proprietary platform, she said Thursday in London.
She will also bypass e-book stores like Amazon's Kindle store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store and Apple's iBookstore, CNN notes.
And the Harry Potter series will be published in the open-source e-Pub format, which is compatible with any electronic reading device, including the iPad.
Rowling announced Pottermore on YouTube Thursday morning:
"I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation," she said. "I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have."
The rights to sell the Harry Potter e-books could be worth as much as $160 million, according to Wired, adding that "by retaining the rights and selling them through her own platform, Rowling stands to make much more."
The magazine writes:
In a further bold move, Rowling has opted to keep the e-books DRM-free, meaning that they are not locked into one device or platform. She is instead opting for digital watermarking that links the identify of the purchaser to the copy of the e-book. This doesn’t prevent copyright theft but does ensure that any copies will be traceable to a particular user. This is similar to how iTunes is DRM-free, but embeds user account information within each file purchased.
Rowling's publishers, Bloomsbury and Scholastic, retain print publishing rights to the fantasy novels.
Meantime, Rowling plans to give Pottermore users an incentive — new material about characters, places and objects in the series which will, she says, make a visit to Pottermore an immersive experience.
"For me, this is such a great way to give something back to Harry Potter fans who made the books such in incredible success," Rowling said, Wired reports. "I still receive a phenomenal number of letters, drawings and stories from fans. This is way for Harry Potter to live on in a medium that didn’t exist when I started writing the books."
By publishing on her own website, Rowling said:
"We can guarantee that people everywhere are getting the same experience at the same time. That was extremely appealing to me. I am lucky to have the resources to do it myself and I think this is a fantastic and unique experience that I could afford to take my time over to make this come alive. There was really no way to do it for the fans or me than just do it myself. Not every author could do this, but it’s right for Harry Potter. It is so much fun to have direct content with my fans. It was an extension of the existing jkrowling.com."
— Freya Petersen