J.K. Rowling recently partnered with Amazon.com in order to provide her treasured Harry Potter saga on e-book format. The first three books, Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban are $7.99 each while the Goblet of Fire, Order of Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows are $9.99 each.
Making her books available on the format legally for the first time, Rowling went through with this extremely wisely. She not only has Amazon reroute the buyers to her Pottermore site in order to purchase them where she then gets to store all the customer and credit card information that Amazon would have had, she has also opted for DRM free e-books. The books are sold directly through her Pottermore site meaning she has the right to all of the HP customers. This is the first time that Amazon allowed something purchased on another site to be used on their devices.
DRM, short for Digital Rights Management, means that the HP e-books aren’t restricted to any format. For example, they aren’t just able to be read on the Kindle, but can be read on the Nook, tablets, smartphones, other e-readers, you name it. Each book can also be downloaded up to eight times for multiple uses.
One pitfall of the promotion is the lack of a bestseller’s list. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have a bestseller’s list for their e-books. The bestseller list is an amazing marketing tool because it puts the e-book’s in front of the customer’s mind and also stays there for a while because people see it and keep buying it. Since the e-books are purchased outside at the Pottermore shop, Amazon does not have that key information to publish on their homepage. Therefore, Pottermore must market the e-books to customers themselves.
Russ Grandinetti, the Vice President of Kindle Content, said, “We’re excited that Harry Potter fans world wide are not able read J.K. Rowling’s fantastic books on their Kindles and free Kindle reading apps.” Amazon definitely conceded a lot to Rowling and I’m not entirely sure Amazon had much to gain from this. It is evident that having the books was more important than the control they usually have. It’s obviously great that they are affiliated with the Harry Potter brand, which no one can deny is one of legacy, but they lost valuable control of distribution, customer information, revenue share, and various marketing tools. What do you guys think?