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Old 06-14-2005, 05:49 PM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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Harry Potter must stay offline (at least officially)

It's official: Harry Potter and his youth friends Ron and Hermione will not be released in electronic form any time soon. At least officially (we'll forgo any warez, crackz, ebookz discussions here, if that's alright). Rowling and her publishers from Harper Media don't name piracy as the main reason. Instead, their lame excuse is an underdeveloped e-book market and lack of suitable reading devices.

Dear Mrs Rowling, excuse us while we dare to say that there are people who are longing for e-books and there are ways of finding suitable electronic reading devices. Have you heard of Mobileread?

[via AP]
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Old 06-14-2005, 06:24 PM   #2
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They might have a point, though. Isn't their target audience the 9-15 age range (or something)? Those customers don't have eBook readers, the people doing the eBoook thing are our ages (20ish - ?) and most of us aren't into Harry Potter (although, yes, some of us are.) Of those with the disposable income to buy eBooks (hardware and software), there aren't enough to justify converting the content to a digital means. Here they can still control the means of distribution, and make their profit margins. At it's root, piracy is the issue because only the super geeky will transfer the files around, and that eats into their profits.

Within 5 years (or so), they'll be giving mini-eBooks away in cereal boxes like they do now with the video games. A little piece of plastic preloaded with the book (or maybe a selection of books) and a watch battery and that's how the eBook revolution will ingratiate itself into the youth of today and the consumers of tomorrow.
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Old 06-14-2005, 07:54 PM   #3
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Old 06-14-2005, 07:59 PM   #4
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Lol hecker
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Old 06-15-2005, 02:58 PM   #5
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Shoot I missed it

I'm sure a lot of people have the same outlook as Rowling's camp. It's the old chicken and egg argument. Until there's a substantial user base etc etc. I would love to know how much the release of the Harry Potter books would drive ebook sales and by extension ebook devices. Many people credit movies like The Matrix for driving DVD player sales.
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Old 06-15-2005, 04:35 PM   #6
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I would love to know how much the release of the Harry Potter books would drive ebook sales and by extension ebook devices. Many people credit movies like The Matrix for driving DVD player sales.
Maybe, but those were adults with adult money buying DVD players (or kids begging their adults for their money). It took a movie like "Matrix" to convince adults that the next generation of movie content is upon them, so it might be a worthy risk to invest in this new technology.

How much adult money is going to buy "kids" eBooks? Where is the incentive to migrate from traditional print technology to the digital eBooks? With DVD players, the whole family can enjoy the benefits of the new technology, but how is the whole family going to enjoy an eBook for kids (in this case, the Harry Potter franchise)? Yes, there are several genres available to everyone's tastes, but where is the mindshare to evolve away from print material?
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Old 06-15-2005, 04:46 PM   #7
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Lurker finally posting. I am sure that in time all books will provide an electronic format as handheld computers become less expensive, more common, and encryption software to secure ebooks become usable and uncrackable.

My son at age 10 uses one of my old Casio BE300s (with epod os hack) to read countless books. He uses it because he like all to many of us is dyslexic. It is a great way to format the book so he can read it (short lines bigger font).
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Old 06-19-2005, 11:01 PM   #8
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Vincec I was thinking along those lines as well. It will be interesting to see what the landscape looks like in twenty years. I like to think that small handheld computers with bright easy to read screens will cost a pittance. Of course they'll have built in wireless so you can buy whatever book you want anywhere you want (since wireless will be ubiquitous.)

Ah well. It's fun to speculate about the future. Next thing I want is that Jetsons car that folds into a briefcase (and apparently weighs like 5 pounds.)
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:17 AM   #9
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I'm just astonished by the short sighted view that some publishers have. I've gotten so that I don't like reading physical books anymore - I only read ebooks. I love the Harry Potter books, and would be more than happy to purchase an electronic copy of the new one for a reasonable price (up to about US$10). But I won't be able to. Instead I will look to other sources and download the book for free. I will feel guilty that the author is not recieving renumeration for my enjoyment of her book and the publishers will get no money from me. Is this an intelligent business practice? Again, I would much prefer to purchase a reasonably priced ebook.

Sorry for the rant and rave, this sort of outmoded thinking just really irritates me, and loses them money.

Last edited by bruceathome; 06-21-2005 at 09:27 AM. Reason: missed out a word
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I love the Harry Potter books, and would be more than happy to purchase an electronic copy of the new one for a reasonable price (up to about US$10).
Ditto. And you know what? The e-book will be available anyways - illegally scanned from the hardcover with the result that many users who would have loved to pay honest bucks for the e-book edition are now tempted to load a pirated version on their PDA. I remember very well last year; it took e-book pirates less than one week to scan and proof-read the forth Harry Potter once it'd hit the bookshelves.
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Old 06-22-2005, 09:12 AM   #11
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Not even did they scanned the whole thingy, they even translated it to german, way before the german edition was even anounced. Ok, this is really nerdish, but it shows how much people want an electronic version of it.

There are so much posibilities unseen, that could for sure make people buy more books. If you think of todays "ebook readers" you think of a full featured PDA, with all it's got. Why not just make a fine reader, that is skinnable, that can display little pictures/animationsa and convert books like the potter saga to a little bit mor multimedia. I really love the old books from my childhood, with little drawings every few pages. Why not port those to next level, fill them up with a little bit more multimedia (animations instead of picures, suitable background music - off course all feutures may as well be turned off) to span the lack of not having a real book. Those readers got all the technic needed, why not use it? Make the story become alive.

Same goes for the whole music industry: Hey you guys. Stop complaining and put some videos, stylish infos and stuff on any given cd out there and I might think of buying again. At the moment, internet radio rulez. -> latest Gorillaz album rocks!
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Old 06-22-2005, 12:02 PM   #12
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Has anyone ever considered that with the extreme popularity of the Harry Potter books, that they (like Lucas did with ILM) could give a huge shove into the popularity and mainstream side for ebooks?

I mean, from a business point of view, if I wanted to take a niche product (ebooks) and make it extremely mainstream, and well known) I would couple it with a popular and existing product. In this case, you have a book series that is well known for an audience range from Ages 5 and upward. My friends around me, usually own several copies of EACH BOOK, and for crying out loud, they read them to their kids before the kids can read themselves. (I personally think that's a bit overboard, but hey! They enjoy it, both parents and children, so who am I to judge? eh? :-)
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Old 06-22-2005, 12:13 PM   #13
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Corey Doctorow has a great stance on ebooks, and one I think more authors need to be exposed to.

Read Short Term, Long Term and Medium Term at the beginning of his book, specifically:
I’ve given away more than half a million digital copies of my award-winning first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and that sucker has blown through five print editions (yee-HAW!), so I’m not worried that giving away books is hurting my sales.

...

I know which example I intend to follow. Giving away books costs me nothing, and actually makes me money. But most importantly, it delivers the very best market-intelligence that I can get.

...

Some other writers have decided that their readers are thieves and pirates, and they devote countless hours to systematically alienating their customers. These writers will go broke. Not me—I love you people. Copy the hell out of this thing.

...

The more people there are that have read and enjoyed my work, the more of these gigs I’ll get. And giving away books increases your notoriety a whole lot more than clutching them to your breast and damning the pirates.

If more authors started behaving in this way, the market would boom, and legitimate ebook sales would skyrocket. Charge $1.00 per copy if you want, you'll still make millions, and $1.00 is cheap enough for people who want to pirate it to just buy it anyway.
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Old 06-22-2005, 01:45 PM   #14
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My sons, 10 and 15, have eBook readers and prefer to use them. I will no longer buy paper because my Palm has become my second hand. Okay, third next to my Mac PowerBook. I guess I will never buy Harry Potter. I don't take books without paying for them or getting permission so I guess I will never take the time to read Harry Potter.
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Old 07-18-2005, 05:26 PM   #15
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Don't leap to conclusions about this being J.K. Rowling's decision. The article says "Rowling," but no quote or actual details from the article indicate that this is anything but a publisher's decision. And this is certainly the sort of issue that is more in the publisher's domain than the author's.
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