Need to Know: Google eBooks Lands Lucrative Pottermore Deal (Updated)

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Brittany Hazelwood

Google announced today via its “Inside Google Books” soundboard that its eBooks platform will power the U.S. sales of Pottermore, JK Rowling’s newly announced online experience for all things Harry Potter. Google’s Team Lead of New Business Development Larissa Fontaine explained the newly forged partnership:

“Pottermore and Google are teaming up to integrate Pottermore with a number of Google products and APIs. So when the series of Harry Potter e-books launches on Pottermore.com in early October, these bestsellers will be available in the U.S. via the open Google eBooks platform. When you buy a Harry Potter e-book from Pottermore, you will be able to choose to keep it in your Google Books library in-the-cloud, as well as on other e-reading platforms.”

Google also struck an exclusive deal with Pottermore as its “preferred third party payment platform for all purchases made on Pottermore.com.” Pottermore patrons will be able to use Google Checkout (launched back in 2006) in addition to credit or debit cards.

What is not certain is whether or not Google will have exclusive hosting rights to all Pottermore e-books, which would, as ZDNet notes, leave Kindle users high and dry as Google Books are not compatible with Amazon Kindle.

Considering Rowling’s business savvy and the millions of Kindle owners, it is hard to believe that Amazon will not be factored in sometime in the near future. As for now, it is Google alone that bears Pottermore’s lightning bolt scar of approval. The only question remains: how long will it be before we see one of those Harry Potter branded Google e-readers?

Update: Amazon.com has informed us that they are indeed working with Pottermore and will be providing access to the Harry Potter e-books for Kindle users. Hopefully, we’ll have more details to come. [Ed]

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.