Harry Potter Series Arrives In E-Book Format To The Delight Of Wannabe Wizards

Perhaps lugging around a thick paper copy of any of the seven books in the Harry Potter series has deterred you from indulging in a re-read, or even attempting a first go at the books. But starting today, J.K. Rowling’s novels involving the world of wizards are available in e-book format.

The series, which Reuters says has sold an estimated 450 million copies worldwide, is available on the author’s Pottermore online store. That site is the only place you’ll be able to buy ebooks and digital audio books, and only in English for now.

Oh, and they’re still more expensive than buying a physical copy on Amazon. For example, a paperback of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is $6.71 on Amazon, and $7.99 on Pottermore. It’s not just Harry Potter, either — while e-readers are getting cheaper, e-book prices have been rising. That price discrepancy has led to the Justice Department investigating book publishers for reportedly scheming to keep prices high across the board.

The main Pottermore site has been delayed by months, and although the store is up and running, the rest of it won’t be be functioning until early April. It’s designed to lure in readers who want to explore even more of Harry Potter’s world than what’s in the books.

Back in July, when the e-book plan hit the news, Google also announced a partnership with Pottermore, wherein “Google Checkout will be the preferred third party payment platform for all purchases made on Pottermore.com.”

Rowling originally didn’t want Harry in digital format, but now it seems she’s bowed to the inevitable march of technology and the whining of millions of fans.

Harry Potter novels available in ebook format [Reuters]

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  1. gglockner says:

    And used (paper) copies are much cheaper yet. I suspect you could buy the entire set in used paperback for about the cost of 1-2 ebooks.

    On the plus side, the Harry Potter ebooks don’t have DRM, so you can read them on your phone, tablet, computer, etc.

  2. chefboyardee says:

    Starting years ago, they were available for free via torrent for anyone who owned the books but wanted to read them on the go on their Kindle/other mobile device, and didn’t want to wait for these clowns to get their act together. Also for pirates, but I actually support writers by purchasing their books.

    • Derigiberble says:

      When I saw these headlines I first thought “But I’ve had them for a year at least.. oooooooohhhh, right.”

      Of course I’ve bought every one of the books at least twice and the current set is hanging out in a box in my attic so I don’t feel too guilty. Now if they would make the prices more reasonable I would gladly buy the official copies too. They need to remember they are competing with used book stores and yard sales at this point where you can get the whole set for $5-10.

      • travel_nut says:

        Agree. I own hardcopies of the whole series, but they–especially the later books–are huge and unwieldy to lug around. I have pdf copies on my kindle. I don’t generally approve of pirating, but since I do actually own the books already I don’t feel guilty.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    With 450 million copies out there, why would you want to spend more money to purchase the same thing in a different format?

    • Biblio Fiend says:

      For me it would be the weight (at least of the latter books). I’ve gone through and re-read them every few years and while I already own them all in hardback it would be nice to not have to lug around a 700+ page book (didn’t mind back when they first came out but that was before I also had a kid and all of the kid’s accessories to haul). That’s the only thing that would prompt me to re-buy.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Harry Potter, for fans, is very re-readable, but book 5 in hardbound is pretty massive (paperback isn’t really a treat to hold, either). Also, books wear out, are damaged, or lost. And new readers that don’t have their own copy. And, you know, all the reasons we buy stuff.

    • cosby says:

      I never bought them because they didn’t have a legit ebook version. I might consider picking them up now since I can read them on my ebook reader which I pretty much always have with me.

    • TheHalfWit says:

      Well because its a good series to read, and some formats last longer then other. I own the audio books because sometimes I’m too lazy to turn a page, I own the hardcover collection because It fit in with the rest of my home library, I own the e-books because it will probably last till end of time, and because I sometimes like reading books on my ipad, or my nook.

      Then there is always the age old argument, I own them because I can. I support the author by buying them in all 3 formats, and at least for the DRM free ebook I support the publishers continued efforts in the DRM free ebook market.

  4. phrekyos says:

    What sucks is that you can’t buy the original unedited UK English versions if you live in the US; only the Americanized ones. Why even have that stupid drop-down box if you can’t select it? Just what books needed: region-locking crap. No thanks.

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      I’m not a mega-fan, but what changed? Other than Philosopher -> Sorcerer?

      • Captain Spock says:

        Very little has changed, just a few words here and there… Jim Dale does the audio books for the American Versions and it is far superior to the Stephen Fry reading of the British ones (no knock on Stephen Fry… Jim Dale is just the high point for any narrator)

      • Daggertrout says:

        I think pretty much any instance of British Englishisms that Americans would be too stupid to understand (lift/elevator, lorry/truck, mum/mom…)

    • Nunov Yerbizness says:

      Try changing the suffix of the site from “http://shop.pottermore.com/en_US” to “en_UK”.

    • Nunov Yerbizness says:

      Actually, sorry, my bad, the suffix should be en_GB.

    • elangomatt says:

      I saw a way to get the UK versions from the US on another website. You basically buy the books as a gift, and say the recipient lives in the UK when you put in the recipients email address and gift message. Once you complete the purchase, you will get an email with a redemption code. Follow the instructions to redeem it and you have the UK version. It worked just fine for me even using same account that I bought the ebooks from to redeem them.

      I am glad to have legit versions of the ebooks now. I did download them a couple years ago online, but always said that when/if they came out in an official ebook that I’d buy them. I have only bought one copy of each of the dead tree versions and it is more than worth the money to buy them one more time.

  5. Christine says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for five years. It’s my favorite series. I own all the books in hardcover and all the movies on blu-ray. I would have gladly paid for these too, but they’re too late. Most people that wanted them pirated them long ago.

  6. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    It frustrates me a bit that when you remove pretty much all production and distribution costs from selling books, and the costs go UP? I see some areas where the books are cheaper, but it seems like there should be a discount when you don’t have to buy paper, ink, bindings, shipping, etc. And if I buy it on paper, it would be nice to also get the digital copy too, so I can read the book wherever I am!

  7. icruise says:

    I bought these earlier today because my son is crazy for Harry Potter after listening to the audiobooks (some of the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard) and I’d like to be able to have digital versions that we can read and refer to without having to lug around the huge paper versions. These are actually pretty reasonably priced compared to many ebooks (at least the MSRP of the actual books is higher than the price of the ebooks, even if the market price at someplace like Amazon is a bit lower). The licensing is very reasonable — purchasing them once lets you read them on every major book reader, plus download a non-DRMed copy — so I’m not too upset about the price. But generally speaking I agree that ebooks should be less than their paper counterparts, since they have no overhead to speak of, and are worse for the customer in that they usually can’t be resold.

  8. zantafio says:

    And I am still waiting for the audio books on iTunes!!!

  9. Outrun1986 says:

    These books can be had for free and read from almost any public library and I am sure the library probably has plenty of copies for lending. I have also seen plenty of HP books at yard sales and used book sales for pennies. There is no need to pay for these when they can easily be obtained for free or obtained for under $1 each. First lesson in frugality, don’t pay for things you don’t have to, especially for things that can easily be obtained for free or very cheap.

    • DonnieZ says:

      Dude, if everyone followed this logic, stores like B&N and Amazon wouldn’t exist.

    • Christine says:

      I read at work a and on vacation. I giddily jumped on the ebook bandwagon for portability and convenience. Even in paperback, theses are not small books.

  10. Torchwood says:

    Folks, it’s a “brand new release”, thus the prices are going to be higher. Wait until Christmas, I’m sure the prices will drop.

    • StopGougingMeThere! says:

      Cuz nothing says Merry Christmas more than unwrapping an invisible present! :)

      • elangomatt says:

        That is just when you get creative with your wrapping. I have given ebooks as Christmas gifts in the past and I usually print out the webpage of the ebook I bought for them and then put it in a much bigger box or at least a card or something. Last year I crumpled up a couple of ebook gifts printouts and put them in a 2′x2′ box for my brother to open along with about 20 or more other crumpled up blank sheets of paper. It was amusing to watch him uncrumple all those papers just trying to find the actual gifts.

  11. StopGougingMeThere! says:

    Amen! I’m only going be using my VCR until the day I die! Oh wait, I did buy Star Wars in 3 different formats. Never mind.

    All sarcasm aside, my wife LOVES her e-reader but I much prefer the feel (and involvement) of a real book. I read historical non-fiction 95% of the time (though I have read all the Potter books 3 or 4 times) and an e-book can’t capture that feeling for example of “cheating” by looking at the photo section right away (and am I the only one that thinks reaching those photo sections is like a special reward for getting that far?). Though admittedly my wife definitely won the day when we moved and I had to lug 20 giant totes of books halfway across the country and she stuffed her Nook in her purse!

    • travel_nut says:

      Haha I agree with you on the photos.

      I went on a family vacation with my inlaws about 5 years ago before I’d even heard of an ereader. I filled my suitcase with half clothes and half books, and my inlaws have never stopped teasing me about it. They got me a kindle for my birthday this year and remarked that they gave it to me just so I won’t have to take 50 pounds of books on vacation anymore. My inlaws are pretty cool. :)

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Being able to lug around all of the books on one e-reader is still a lot more convenient than storing seven paperbacks. I already have the hardbacks for collecting. I kind of don’t need multiples just to have them. Ebooks are a good compromise.