Today is the first day that the Harry Potter series of books have been available in electronic form and it’s likely that they will begin to revolutionize the formats that eBooks are available in. The Harry Potter books are not encrypted, which means that they can be read on any device.
Should J.K. Rowling’s new online store, “Pottermore,” be as a big of a success as expected, there could be several other publishers and authors who will set up shop in the same way. The hope is that such online stores could undermine the dominance of Amazon.com, which currently sells more e-Books than any other site.
Right now, major publishers only offer E-books that are encrypted. This means that book’s text is scrambled so that it can only be read on an authorized device. For example, Amazon’s e-Books can only be read on Kindles, which is produced by Amazon, or with Kindle apps on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The e-Books cannot be read on Nook e-readers, which are fromBarnes & Noble.
The same is true in reverse for e-Books from Barnes & Noble. A Nook e-Book can’t be read on a Kindle. A book bought from Apple can only be read on iPads, iPod Touches, and iPhones. The encryption is a form of “Digital Rights Management” and publishers use to cut down on piracy of online content. In addition, it helps companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble maintain their business models.
However, Pottermore is different. Once someone purchases a book and downloads it, they can use a wide range of devices and applications. In addition, they can pass the book around to their family and friends. Sharing any further than that is kept from happening by invisible “watermarks” that appear once it’s been shared.
The CEO of Pottermore, Charles Redmayne, said that it is their belief that people should be able to choose what device they want to use to read an e-Book once they have purchased the book. In addition, it’s building a relationship with its customers. Instead of the fans going somewhere else to purchase the Harry Potter books, Pottermore has given them the freedom that they won’t find anywhere else.