Harry Potter Magic vs Amazon Kindle Power

Harry Potter and KindleHarry Potter has taken his wand to Kindle

Without a lot of media attention, Pottermore has abandoned being the sole source of Harry Potter ebooks. This comes after a new, mobile-friendly site was launched only months ago.

All Harry Potter ebooks are now available on Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook and Kobo.

This is quite a remarkable shift, as the brand power of the Harry Potter seems to have been usurped by the marketing power of Amazon, and particularly Kindle.

To understand why Pottermore has abandoned being the sole source of Harry Potter ebooks and audio books, one needs to look at the money trail. This excerpt from the Digital Reader tells a sorry financial tale.

In the year ending 31st March 2015, sales dropped by £24.8m – or 352% – to £7m (from £31.8m a year earlier), while profit at Pottermore also decreased significantly, from £14.9m in 2014 to a loss of £6m in 2015.

It is a dramatic fall, and seems to indicate that Pottermore failed in its aim of getting ebook buyers to come to them, and have now understood the ebook market doesn’t work like that, and decided to go quietly, cap (wand) in hand, to where the ebook buyers are – on Kindle, iBooks, Nook and Kobo.

This is a very big shift in the book market, as only a few years ago, the Harry Potter brand was so powerful that it was able to dictate terms, resist Amazon’s marketing reach, and even hold off on a move to ebooks for a considerable length of time.

To take the closing quote from the Digital Reader article again:

If even Pottermore, with its highly desirable Harry Potter ebooks, can’t draw customers away from Amazon then what chance does every one else have?

Indeed. Amazon wins again.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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