Friday, May 11, 2012
Kindle Owners' Lending Library Gets "Exclusive" License to Lend All Seven Harry Potter eBooks
After teasing customers on its website yesterday that Harry Potter "Wizardry was on the Way," Amazon announced Wednesday morning that all seven Harry Potter ebooks by J.K. Rowling will be available in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library as part of an "exclusive" license, starting June 19. Amazon tells PL the license runs "until at least 2014" and says the exclusivity means "this is the only licensing agreement of its kind for any retailer."The French, Italian, German and Spanish editions will all be available for borrowing in KOLL.
"We're absolutely delighted to have reached this agreement with Pottermore. This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we'll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners,” said Amazon ceo Jeff Bezos in the release. Bezos also added: "Over a year, borrowing the Harry Potter books, plus a handful of additional titles, can alone be worth more than the $79 cost of Prime or a Kindle."
Separately, Pottermore executive Charlie Redmayne told the Guardian it was Rowling's decision to offer the Harry Potter ebooks DRM-free, because she "personally believes that if someone's bought an ebook they ought to be able to read it on their Sony Reader, their Kindle, their iPad, their PC." He adds are still "having conversations with Apple" about an affiliate sales relationship for the Potter ebooks, "but there is no date, no agreement."
Pottermore is driving truly impressive page view statistics--over a billion page views in the first two weeks after the full launch (that's what Huffington Post did for the whole quarter), but we still don't buy the claim that over 3 million pounds in HP ebook sales over the first month is way ahead ahead of plan. Redmayne insists he "didn't anticipate reaching [that figure] until the autumn." (That would mean they planned on selling only about 100,000 units, or less than 15,000 units per title, per month.)
A cynical person might conclude the just-announced Amazon lending deal is far more lucrative than Pottermore's direct sales results. (And if those "lends" are counted towards Amazon's Kindle bestseller list, it may spur ebook sales from Pottermore in a much more effective way than the current affiliate/referral system between Amazon and the Rowling site.) Redmayne tells PaidContent, "The way the deal is structured means that any lost sales are more than made up for. Yes, some people will borrow from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and therefore not buy, but Amazon is paying us a large amount of money for that right, and I believe it's a commercial deal that makes sense." He also "believe[s] it will actually drive greater sales."