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Google Books to distribute Harry Potter e-books

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Last month, author JK Rowling announced the launch of, a website devoted to the expansive world of Harry Potter. But the most significant revelations from Rowling wasn’t the website — it  was that her  Harry Potter series would, for the first time, be release in e-book format. And today, we’ve found out how exactly that will happen

First, Rowling has decided to shun the publishing industry by self-publishing the e-book version of the Potter series, and selling the books directly to customers, through the Pottermore website. To achieve this controversial goal, the Harry Potter series will be distributed through Google Books, starting this fall. Digital audiobooks formats will also be available.

For customers, this means that “[w]hen you buy a Harry Potter e-book from Pottermore, you will be able to choose to keep it in your Google Books library in-the-cloud, as well as on other e-reading platforms,” the statement on the Inside Google Books blog reads. In other words: Harry Potter e-books will be DRM free, and you can use them on pretty much any device you want, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. (It’s not yet clear, however, whether the books will work on Amazon’s Kindle.)

Google says it will also handle all the financial transactions associated with the e-book sales, as well as any other merchandise purchased through Pottermore, using its payment platform, Google Checkout. YouTube will also be used for “global video broadcasts” associated with Rowling and Pottermore.

In addition to serving as a storefront for Rowling’s digital Harry Potter editions, Pottermore is intended to be a central hub for Potter fans who wish to delve deeper into the series’ magical world. Rowling will also use the site as a platform to release additional Harry Potter material that she’s written — not another book, mind you, but tangential material, more than 18,000 words-worth.

Pottermore is expected to officially launch in October. Fans can register their email address now to receive updates.

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Andrew Couts
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