In April, I predicted that a major international bestseller – a household name – would self-publish by the end of the summer.
It looks like we won’t have to wait that long.
JK Rowling announced the launch of Pottermore.com – which will be the exclusive vendor for the Harry Potter series in digital and audio formats.
The e-books (and audiobooks) will be available – for the first time – from October, in a selection of languages.
In addition, on YouTube, Rowling said the website would be host to “an interactive reading experience” which is separate from the e-books. The website will be “free-to-use”.
There are a whole host of corporate partners involved. The website was executed with Sony, OverDrive will set-up and run the e-bookstore, and as for the e-books and audiobooks themselves, Rowling stated that she will be “publishing in partnership” with her existing publishers across the world.
What does this mean? Well, her US publishers – Scholastic – issued a statement:
“Scholastic is proud to be a key partner in the Pottermore project…providing marketing and promotion support…Scholastic will receive a royalty on sales of the U.S. editions of the ebooks.”
This sounds like Rowling is giving Scholastic a percentage in return for “marketing and promotion support”. If that’s the case, and if she has a similar deal worked out with the rest of her publishers, then we can quite clearly say that this is Rowling self-publishing the Harry Potter e-books.
In case you have been living under a rock for the last 14 years, the Harry Potter series of seven books has sold over 450m print copies, spawned eight movies, and the last book holds the record for the most copies sold in the first 24 hours – 8.3m.
Obviously, the big losers in this deal are Amazon (and the other retailers). Sales will be direct from her website, and exclusively available there (for now at least). The big winners? JK Rowling, and her fans.
Big news. What do you think?