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Monday, June 27, 2011

JKR's Pottermore plans worry bookstores

Harry Potter eBooks plan a concern for bookstore owners

AP National Writer Hillel Italie notes that booksellers are contemplating JK Rowling's website plans with growing panic.

"Bricks and mortar stores are taking a lot of bullets and there's a limit to how mnay bullets we can take," said Roxanne Coady, owner of the wonderful R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut (where I once had a memorable signing).

Jon Howells, spokesman for Britain's Waterstone chain, said that Harry Potter launches "have become the stuff of legend ... We're therefore disappointed that, having been a key factor in the growth of the Harry Potter phenomenon since the first book was published, the book trade is effectively banned from selling the long-awaited eBook editions."

So what is the problem?  That JKR has raced everyone else to the 21st century, it seems. She announced last week that her interactive website will be the exclusive seller of the eBook edtions of her Harry Potter series.  As Rick Spilman commented on an earlier post, she has cut out all the other eBook distributors, such as B&N and Amazon and Waterstones.  And this, it seems, impacts on the more than 200 independent American bookstores that sell eBooks through Google.

JKR is impenitent.  She is proud of the bond she has created with fans online, and said she was "phenomenally lucky in that I have the resources to do it myself and there I got to do it, I think, right."

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