Sony Reader asks Harry Potter for a little bit of magic

Published August 16, 2011

When JK Rowling announced Pottermore, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The Harry Potter books are some of the few physical novels that I still own, and I haven’t wanted to dispose of them until I had an ebook copy to replace it with. It’s been driving me crazy, as I only own six of the seven books, and that gap on the shelf is hard to live with. However, I don’t want to buy the missing item, only to dispose of it later.

Thus, the announcement of ebooks will signal the end of a book-shaped irritation.

Part of me was still a bit skeptical. Would she do it in some weird way so that you only had access through the Pottermore website? Rowling has always seemed very protective and selective over the Harry Potter legacy, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she locked down the ebooks as well.

Details are starting to emerge, particularly regarding the initial ebook release. Fast Company has a great post about the rumours that the first digital books will be bundled onto the Sony Reader, in an exclusive deal to coincide with the Christmas market at the end of this year. The books should then be opened up to other markets in 2012.

That’s an interesting concept. I would never have considered buying a Sony Reader before this, although I do think they look super cute. They are one of the first devices I considered, alongside the Kindle, before I realised that with the multitude of Kindle Apps, I didn’t really need a dedicated reading gadget. But, if the Sony Reader has a bundle of books that I would have to buy anyway, would it then be worth it?

The price of the gadget normally is about £120, how much would the bundled books be on top of that? And how much would the seven ebooks cost individually? It’s definitely something to be considered.

The Fast Company article suggest that Sony have been part and parcel of the Pottermore deal from the start, with any exclusivity payments going to charity, but they also add that the Reader is a rank outsider when it comes to the eBook market. Other books appear to come only from WH Smiths and Waterstones, which are not too brands that fill me with confidence. I don’t necessarily want to buy a device solely for Harry Potter purposes, although secretly, that does sound quite fun.

Ultimately, at the moment, it’s all speculation, as Sony aren’t confirming a partnership, and good luck getting anything concrete out of the Rowling/Bloomsbury side of things. I’m curious to see how the deal would play out, if people would snap up the Reader just because it’s the first to offer the HP books, and if I would be convinced to do the same.

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