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March 27, 2012

‘Harry Potter’ e-books: J.K. Rowling series finally goes digital

Posted in: Books

The seven "Harry Potter" books are now available to purchase in digital format on Pottermore.com.

This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

Would-be wizards can now purchase the “Harry Potter” novels as e-books through Pottermore, author J.K. Rowling’s virtual world for magic-loving Muggles.

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All seven books in the series are now on sale in the Pottermore Shop, marking the first time the “Harry Potter” series — which shattered book sales records and spawned the most successful movie franchise of all time — is available in digital format.

The books are available in English print and audio formats, in their U.S. and U.K. editions, with four other languages on the way, including Spanish, French, Italian and German. They are being released in the popular EPUB format, which is compatible with most e-readers, including Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony’s Reader and devices using Google Play.

The digital books range from $7.99 to $9.99 individually or $57.54 for the complete series, making the e-books slightly cheaper than retail paperbacks. Audio versions range from $29.99 to $44.99, or $242.94 for the entire series.

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Fans have long anticipated the release, which comes more than a decade after the first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” captured the imaginations of young readers and their parents, and became a pop-culture phenomenon. The seventh and last book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” is the fastest-selling book in history; 11 million copies flew off shelves in 24 hours in 2007.

Rowling, who retained the digital rights to her books, announced the e-book release last June, when she unveiled Pottermore, a free “online experience” for Potter fans wishing to immerse themselves in the wizarding world. The site promises interactive features, allowing users to be sorted into Hogwarts houses, experience the story lines from the novels and read previously unpublished material from Rowling.

Pottermore, which was open to a limited number of users for beta testing beginning last fall, is expected to be fully available to all users in April.

[For the Record, 3:10 p.m. March 27: An earlier version of this post referred to Google Play as an e-reader. Rather, it is a digital service that makes content (including the "Harry Potter" books) available across multiple devices.]

– Noelene Clark

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