JK Rowling Finally Realizing That Offering An Official Ebook Might Be A Good Idea?

from the about-time dept

We've never understood JK Rowling's stance against ebooks. Five years ago, we wrote about how she refused to allow ebooks of her books because she was afraid they would get "pirated." Of course, that made no sense. By not offering an ebook version, she actually made sure that her books were file shared even more. As we noted, even five years ago, a group of Harry Potter fans were able to scan and OCR the release of a Harry Potter book and get it online within 12 hours of its release. And by not having an official version, the only version that fans could get electronically was the unauthorized version. Not offering an official ebook version does nothing to stop unauthorized file sharing. It only prevents you from actually getting money for sales of the official version.

This seemed obvious five years ago, so we've been perplexed that Rowling has continued to stand by her refusal to offer ebooks. However, Copycense alerts us to the news that Rowling is now finally considering offering ebook versions, though it sounds like it may still be a long way off. Of course, given her misguided views on unauthorized copies, expect any official release to be locked down (not that it will stop or even slow infringing copies).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    fuck her

    greedy witch

     

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  2.  
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    sehlat (profile), Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    This comes a little late in the day.

    Given her publisher's public response to the demand for eBooks a few years ago, that "I should think they would understand that if we don't provide it, they can't have it," it's going to take an awful lot to convince people to buy the eBooks, and even more to accept locking them down.

    Or hasn't the publisher seen the "unauthorized" set that came out a year or two ago which, as far as anybody was able to tell, had been created with professional-level layout for PDF and team-proofed to a very high quality for RTF.

    If the publisher were smart, he'd get copies and sell them unlocked in all popular reader formats (mobi,eReader, ePub, etc.) at $5 a book and might make money that way.

    But locked copies? [maniacal laughter]

     

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  3.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    They keep reinventing the eWheel and driving over their own feet with it.

    "I should think they would understand that if we don't provide it, they can't have it,"

    Gonna need a bigger wand there guy.

     

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  4.  
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    interval, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    Re: fuck her

    Am I safe in assuming you're remembering back to the story wherein she (or her publisher, or the film distributor, all of whom made a mint) sent a take down notice to a number of fan websites that contained (what may or may not have been) copy written or trade marked material, or her staunch objection to a perfectly legal compendium written by another author, or...

     

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  5.  
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    TheStupidOne, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Ummm ... too late JK, everybody who wants your books in eBook format already has it. Who is going to pay after you refused to give your fans what they wanted so they took it anyway.

    Better luck next time

     

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  6.  
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    lonewriter (profile), Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re: fuck her

    Wow, an anonymous coward can use foul language. How intelligent you sound, your parents must be so proud!

     

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  7.  
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    lonewriter (profile), Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re:

    so your saying it's ok to be a thief?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re:

    It's quite difficult to steal something which doesn't exist.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Pretty sure he's just saying people already are. Don't believe he either condoned nor encouraged it...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    "so your saying it's ok to be a thief?"

    I think the message is "provide yourself or others will do it for you". The thieving part is irrelevant and probably not even true.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 4:17pm

    Too little, too late. Greed knows no boundaries.

    We already got the fucking ebooks. Now go fuck yourself, bitch!

     

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  12.  
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    Wifezilla, Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    I happily paid for the hard copies (and own all of the movie bought at Walmart), but I am not going to pay again to have those books in a more convenient format that wont cause back damage trying to take all of them with me at one time. So Torrent it is...
    (Yeah, I'm a rebel. You can't stop me. :P )

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 3:24am

    to little to late, already threw out all I had from her, And yes, she is a witch!

     

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  14.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 3:47am

    Re:

    "provide yourself or others will do it for you"

    Yep, that's pretty much the argument all along. I would dearly love to pay for the full version of Grindhouse, the re-edited and uncut single movie of Kill Bill, a subtitled version of Drunken Master 2, a DVD of The Last Starfighter, Night Of The Creeps, The Monster Squad, the full series of Fear Itself, etc. But, thanks to region coding and the unwillingness to release some of these titles *anywhere*, and not on region 2 in some cases, I can't buy them legally. The Pirate Bay can supply me them, though. They are literally refusing my money, then complaining that people are "stealing" from them.

     

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  15.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 4th, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re:

    Nothing is "stolen", it's copyright infringement.

    Copyright infringement is a (civil) crime because it supposedly (not proven) removes the capability for the content creator to sell to a person who downloads a copy.

    In this case, the content creator is literally refusing to sell to the potential customer, so they go elsewhere.

    If anything is lost, it's because Rowling literally refused to allow her goods to be sold.

     

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  16.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Jun 4th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    No need to make up stuff here...

    Rowling only objected when they started a for-profit venture based on that information.

    This is similar to other fan fiction works in other genres that are specifically prohibited from even the slightest appearance of being commercial.

     

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  17.  
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    6ryph3n, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:55pm

    I'd still buy it, but...

    I would have gladly paid for an iBook set of the series, but since that's not available I downloaded the pirated copies. I'd still be willing to buy an iBook version, provided that they're fairly priced (cheaper than the paperback editions), but I still don't understand how Rowling could be so misinformed on the subject unless she just doesn't listen to anyone other than publishing executives who are equally misinformed.

     

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  18.  
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    Some Guy, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    what a sad state of affairs

    Writing indexes, histories, annotations or any other derivative work that does not include the original work in a significant for is, in general, allowed, for free or profit. Rowling is far from original, and is definitely not a scholar of law, or social movements. I am fairly certain that she was the puppet of some other person(s) that were able to incite a poor understanding of circumstance and give her a sense of entitlement and betrayal. The sad part is that she, through luck, skill, or a pact with the devil was the person who for half a generation of people made reading cool again. Yet she fell, with metalica and so many others, on the unpopular and unwise side of the argument.

    If she really wants to see the hearts and minds of those who seek after reading so much that they would "steal" books she should set up a set of legal copies to be purchased at 80% the paperback price, as well as a donation link to anyone who feels they have all ready enjoyed the books enough in digital form... and donate all of the proceeds to a good cause. Is there a charity that educates people who have suddenly become very rich on social politics?

     

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  19.  
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    Jerry in Detroit, Jun 12th, 2010 @ 5:36am

    Isn't it a bit too little too late. I remember when that several e-books circulated prior to the release of the last Harry Potter book. Within 12 hours of the sale of the first hard cover book, scanned versions were available. The latter revealed the former to be very, very good fan-fiction. Frankly, I liked the fan-fic better. In any case, failing to release an e-book version leaves a vacuum that others are only too willing to fill. As a result, I bought the hard cover, put it on the shelf and read the e-book.

     

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  20.  
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    sams free ebooks.com, Jun 15th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Hooray!

    This is truly great news for us muggles especially the high tech ones.

     

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  21.  
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    Sal, Jul 4th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Re:

    what a bunch of whiney crybabies you make readers out to be,
    "Who is going to pay after you refused to give your fans what they wanted so they took it anyway" then again I can't speak for all of you.

     

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  22.  
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    Alex, Jul 11th, 2010 @ 2:26am

    Thank Goodness

    She'd better, because I'm not buying anything other than eBooks anymore... I had to get rid of my whole library (300 books +) because I'm moving into a small studio (270 square feet). I bought an eReader and have been replacing my favorites and trying new authors through eBooks only because I just won't have the space.

    Realizing I couldn't replace my Harry Potter books was a shame, but most publishers and authors haven't made a fuss over it. And I've found new books I want to try out are even more likely to have an eBook version available - good news for me and my electronic library. So I can keep my library no matter how small my living space is. And just hope the books I like that aren't available yet will end up becoming available (legally) for my eReader.

     

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  23.  
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    Missilier, Dec 31st, 2010 @ 7:35pm

    Fantasy vs Real World

    Rowling's handlers are publishers under the impression that today's books will be around forever. The pulp paper used will degrade within 30 years. Once a book is placed on a shelf, provided you have the room, it will remain there untouched for decades - that's assuming the owner hasn't tossed it, or hasn't died. The ebook will contiually travel the Web. In many ways it will be the only means for some people to aquire the book. Time's change. Monks once spent their lives inking a copy of a book. Then the printing press arrived. Then pulp paper made them cheap enough for the masses. The masses being those who can afford to buy a $30, triple thick book. And, with that book you have to have a place to store it. There are very few individuals that can have a library in their house. I could go on about the days of the hard-copy coming to an end. The publishers that are smart see that the ebook is the future will be around in ten years. Those that hang on to the centuries old printing press will quickly disappear. How many of you out there still have the local paper delivered to your home? J K seek your freedom and insure that your words will be around for a hundred years and not just a few decades.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 8:44am

    link to thebookseller.com in this article is broken.

    proper link is to http://www.thebookseller.com/news/rowling-opens-door-digital-harry-potter-books.html

     

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  25.  
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    Tina, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Thank Goodness

    Hi Alex,

    I too do not buy books anymore. I think that JK Rowlings is loosing money by not offering her books as eBook versions. My husband has purchased and read all the Harry Potter books but I have not read and probably won't read the stories until it is offered in eBook version.

     

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  26.  
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    Mnemonix, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re: so your saying it's ok to be a thief?

    Actually, yes... This is not about money. If there were versions of HP in digital format, then I would buy them immediately. But if this is because of an issue the writer has with piracy, or whatever the crazy reason might be, then I will look for a version on the platform that works for me. Which is probably going to be a pirated version.

    I don't feel bad in the slightest. I've already paid a lot of money into this franchise, and I'll pay even more when legitimate copies become available. Until then, I will enjoy free copies on my e-reader, and thank the pirates for providing what the publisher will not!

     

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  27.  
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    Acacia Simon, Jul 10th, 2011 @ 4:45am

    Pottermore and ebooks

    Well this sounds like great news that J.K. is finally releasing an online version of the book. I definately fall into the category of fans who grew up with the harry potter franchise, and its good to see that its moving into a new medium. It's time for things to change and if Rowling wants to see her franchise continue to grow and be available to the next generation of readers then this is definately the way to go! Its like the old saying goes, "Better late than never." I know the demand for these ebooks came years ago but at least she has finally come around to the idea. As far as lost profit goes on the late choice for ebooks I don't think anyone needs to worry about Rowling going broke. She has made millions so far and will continue to keep cashing in on her series. Any lost profit is based on her own dely in decision making and a few lost dollars probably doesn't even compare to what she has already made.

     

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  28.  
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    Matthew Lionelhoss, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 5:13pm

    I don't know... I watched the last few movies and I was impressed with the storyline. I'd like to read the series.... but not until my Nook has them available. It is a space thing... Sorry J.K.

     

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