Alison Flood 

Pottermore conjures Harry Potter ebooks

After a postponed launch last year, all of JK Rowling's seven bestselling Harry Potter books are now available as ebooks on the Pottermore website
  
  

Ebook editions of JK Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter titles went on sale for the first time today, marking what is being described as digital publishing's "Beatles moment". The seven Potter ebooks were initially scheduled to launch last October on Rowling's new venture, the website Pottermore.

The first three novels cost £4.99 in ebook form, compared with a cover price of £6.99 for print editions, while the final four are priced at £6.99 in ebook compared with £8.99 in print. The ebooks are compatible with devices and platforms including Sony's Reader, Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook and Google Play.

Although the titles feature on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they can only be bought from Pottermore. By selling the books via her own website, Rowling will be able to keep much of the revenue rather than sharing it with the publishers.

"Today is a great day for Harry Potter fans and ebook readers alike. Not only is this phenomenally popular series available in ebook form for the first time, but across an extensive range of devices and platforms, thanks to unique collaborations with leading online retailers," said Pottermore chief executive Charlie Redmayne.

"This is digital publishing's Beatles moment," said Philip Jones, deputy editor of The Bookseller. "These will be huge – they are a game changer because of the power of the Potter brand."

Jones said the prices of £4.99 and £6.99 for the ebooks were "fair, given their public utterances that … they don't want to cannibalise print sales".

"Harry Potter in print made £4m last year, so that's a business they obviously don't want to see evaporate, yet they do want to grow digital business too," said Jones. "They're not being aggressive about digital pricing but that might change as they watch how customers respond. They will also bring out enhanced editions, which will help them build a broader digital business."

The Harry Potter series has sold 450m copies worldwide to date. Last month Rowling announced she had signed a deal to write a new book for adults, but revealed nothing about its contents other than that it would "explore new territory".