I’m off to the London Book Fair tomorrow. Ebooks is big business nowadays, especially with the 800lb Amazon Gorilla stomping about the mobile industry. Indeed, the emerging idea of Amazon competing heavily or directly with iTunes has been getting quite a lot of people excited over the past few months.
As I was browsing the LBF site today I came across this news post regarding Harry Potter. Apparently, JK Rowling is ‘actively considering’ bringing the Harry Potter franchise to Ebook format.
I had to roll my eyes.
I read on.
The post’s author Fiona Kellagher reports:
JK Rowling had, until recently, been unforthcoming about the transferring of her books about the teenage wizard from the physical realm to that of ebooks. She said the main reason for this reticence was the fear that the novels would be easily pirated.
By all means if you’re considering publishing in some mickey-mouse PDF format. But on Amazon? Come on? I’m no piracy expert but surely they’ve sorted-all-that-jazz out by now, given that almost every other author I can think of has gone ‘e’?
Fiona then quotes Liz Thompson of Book Brunch thus:
“I wouldn’t be too surprised if the rights for the ebooks are sold for £100 million,” she said. “Experts believe the move could revolutionise the world of electronic publishing, triggering rocketing sales of ebook readers such as the Kindle and the iPad.”
I agree with this statement. I think it’ll be excellent for the mobile industry.
But goodness me, the book publishing business is really, really screwed isn’t it?
£100m? For the eBook rights?
Fair enough for the business people concerned, but what about the lowly consumer, getting ready for a right-royal-rogering? We bought a whole set of Harry Potter books for baby Archie before he was born. A whole set. Lotsa cash.
The publisher and the author will no doubt be clear that my wife and I bought some physical products.
As far as I am concerned I bought access to content.
I didn’t expressly expect eBook rights with the physical purchase.
However I’m going to be deeply, DEEPLY, DEEPLY unimpressed if the publisher decides to set the price of the eBook at a ridiculous level. £12 each? Ridiculous. The problem with Harry Potter is that it’s likely to garner significant ‘end consumer’ attention — and it’s those consumers who come into the EBook market that won’t react very well to being stiffed ‘again’.
It would be very exciting if each book’s price was set to £0.59 each.
Or £0.99. £2.99 would work too. I think so many people would just click ‘buy’ so they’ve got’em in the electronic library, just in case.
Buuuut that’ll never happen, will it? Far too many parties will want a decent percentage.
And just to throw the cat in amongst the pigeons, what would happen if JK decided to self publish?