Pottermore + Google = eBooks for Everyone

When J.K. Rowling announced Pottermore, the interactive Harry Potter website set to launch in full this October, the biggest part of the announcement (aside from OMG HARRY POTTER) was that the author would be releasing all of the series’ titles on ebooks “available for every ereader”. But until this week, no one knew how that little plan was going to work out–Rowling refused to sign with Amazon or Barnes & Noble to offer exclusive Kindle or Nook titles.

In effect, Rowling will be self-publishing the digital copies of Harry Potter on Pottermore, a move that could leave proprietary readers reeling from the loss of potential earnings.It seems Rowling will be taking Potter to Google, and publishing all of the books through open-source Google eBooks (purchasable through Google Checkout) in DRM-free ePub and PDF formats.

There’s a bit of misinformation about the accessibility of these formats on Kindle floating around on the web–some are saying that this locks out Kindle-owners because ePub and ODF aren’t supported by the device, which is untrue. PDF support for Kindle was integrated in a software update over a year ago; if you prefer your files in a standard Kindle format, there’s this:

Option to Convert PDF Files to Kindle Format
If you prefer to have your personal PDF documents converted to the Kindle format so you can take advantage of Kindle functionality such as variable font size, annotation, Text-to-Speech, etc., type “Convert” in the subject of the e-mail when you submit your personal document to your “name”@free.kindle.com address.
Image-heavy PDF files are presented in landscape orientation and don’t work with devices that have auto-rotation, so those will be delivered in the Kindle format.

So what we have here, essentially, is one of the most popular living authors taking into her own hands the sale and distribution of her content–making it available to all of her fans without encouraging the bidding war between proprietary ereaders, catering to the majority or offering a business boon to the second and third largest ereader retailers. Rowling has set herself apart while simultaneously offering equal availability to readers. That, geeks, is what you call a win.

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